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Cap publishes vlogger ad guidelines

Guidelines have been published for video bloggers (vloggers) who enter marketing relationships with brands. The new rules encourage vloggers to label advertising content and explain when they have been asked to feature products sent to them by companies.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap) has issued its first guidance since a landmark Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling last year when numourous vlogs praising Oreo biscuits were not clearly marked as adverts.

The Cap guidelines discuss several scenarios in which text clarifying that content is sponsored, or that a product placement arrangement is in place, might be added to videos.

“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,” it says.

Cap also advises brands collaborating directly with vloggers to be equally clear that the resulting content is a form of online marketing. Similarly, vloggers advertising their own products need to make viewers aware of this before they begin watching, via the title of the video.

In a statement, Shahriar Coupal, director of Cap, said: “Wherever ads appear we should be confident we can trust what an advertiser says; it’s simply not fair if we’re being advertised to and are not made aware of that fact.”

However, the guidelines noted that when free items are sent to vloggers without any editorial or content control over videos exerted by the brand in question, there is no need for them to follow the Cap code.

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