Health product giant Proctor & Gamble has been slapped on the hand in Ireland for not appropriately labeling a YouTube video as advertising. In a bit of an ironic twist, it was a blogger (whose identity is undisclosed) who called out the video, complaining that disclosure was insufficient to let viewers know it was paid for by the company.
That's despite the fact that the video in question, a lip tutorial entitled Easy Lip Makeup Tutorials For Winter Time, published in December, carried a line of text at the beginning that read: “brought to you by Procter & Gamble.” A link beneath the video led viewers to buy the items used in the video from SuperSavvyMe, which is also owned by Proctor & Gamble.
The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the labeling wasn't enough.
…we considered that consumers would not be aware that the videos were ads promoting Procter & Gamble, and instead were likely to believe the videos were impartial editorial content.
We concluded, therefore, that the videos within the Beauty Recommended channel, including the Easy Lip tutorial, were not obviously identifiable as marketing communications
The company's punishment? The ASA required that P&G add further identifying information to their channel and videos. The company tells the Irish Examiner it added #ad to the beginning of all its videos.
That seems even less obvious than “brought to you by…,” doesn't it? The incident underscores the murky state of affairs when it comes to disclosure requirements in both the U.S. and the U.K. (check out our guide here). Bloggers and brands have pretty vague guidance from the groups charged with monitoring such things, and cases like this will only increase until we can get more clear on what kind of labelling is necessary.