Vloggers Coming Clean

Written by - 03/09/2015

If you’ve ever been on YouTube, and it’s safe to say you probably have, chances are you’ve been exposed to vloggers. The simple idea of making videos of yourself from home and sharing them online has now grown into a massive industry, with seemingly normal people now worth millions, all for talking on camera.

But where is this value coming from? It’s simple, build an audience who are regularly engaged with your videos and you’ll notice brands start knocking on your door, well, filling your inbox. Paid content and product placement in vlogs is everywhere, often undisclosed, and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has finally put their foot down.

From simple product features to expansive international trips, the relationship between brands and bloggers can take many forms. Previously it was simply considered good practice to (sometimes subtly) label that a video has been ‘sponsored’ or ‘promoted’ by a certain company. This could be something as small as a throwaway line of “thanks to Company X for making this video possible” or even just one sentence in the video description. Now however the CAP has set specific guidelines for how advertisment led content must be identified.

A key rule under the CAP Code is that if the content is controlled by the marketer, not the vlogger, and is written in exchange for payment (which could be a monetary payment or free items) then it is an advertisement feature and must be labelled as such (rule 2.4).

Quite a simple guideline really. If any part of a video you’re producing is for the purpose of promoting a brand or product, and you in some way benefit from it, then you need to tell people. How this happens though is still a bit of a grey area and the CAP merely offer suggestions for a number of scenarios. With solutions ranging from on screen messages to notices in the video title, the onus is still on content creators to ensure they meet the guidelines. The guidelines take effect immediately and you can read the full list here, in terms to how vlogs will implement them, we will have to wait and see.