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ASA turning attention to Vine, says star Huw Samuel who claims his product placement posts go unregulated

The ASA is “looking to do more” on Vine, according to one content creator who has gathered hundreds of thousands of followers but claims his clips with product placement can run without any disclosure.

Speaking at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit today (18 March) on the topic of ASA regulation, Huw Samuel said: “At the moment there’s not that much policing on Vine with that kind of content. You do need to use your common sense. If you are monetising in any way, you have to be careful.”

Samuel explained that the way brands work with Vine artists is different to how they might work with YouTube bloggers due to the length of film, with product placement the preferred form of advertising on the platform.

However, asked by fellow panellist and YouTube vlogger Fleur de Force if he signposts content with product placement, Samuel said: “No we don’t disclose. But audiences are pretty savvy. They are definitely bringing in something where you have to say….but currently it’s all just being discussed. It’s still so new.”

His comments came following the ASA’s (Advertising Standards Authority) landmark ruling on Mondelez UK’s Oreo campaign which saw YouTubers take part in paid activity. It ruled the content wasn’t adequately labelled as paid for.

At ISBA’s annual conference earlier this month, the body’s chief executive Guy Parker addressed the “blurred lines” of brands working with vloggers, on YouTube specifically. It has issued guidelines for advertisers and YouTubers but Parker said there would be a “step change” in its approach and more discrimination in

However, with Twitter-owned Vine “there’s not that much policing,” claimed Samuel “but I know that the ASA is now looking into doing something.”

He added Twitter is in the midst of devising its own ways to manage how advertisers work with its talent who can command five-figure sums from brands per Vine post.

“They’re trying to sign all of the creative to the one advertising agency called Niche [a social talent agency it acquired in February 2015] so that they can then be exclusively hired in the one place through Twitter rather than it being from individuals,” said Samuel. “Although that still looks like it’s a while off.”

Speaking on how the regulations have impacted YouTube vloggers so far, Fleur said: “I’ve always disclosed sponsored content on YouTube and the regulations are a good thing. It was a bit scary in the beginning – labelling the video an ad – but the [audience] reaction has been great.”

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