Proctor & Gamble Slammed in the U.K. for not Appropriately Marking Video as Advertising

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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.

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7 Responses

  1. Carla

    I think is really nice to see how things are going when it comes to advertising. A lot of brands were trying to appropriate a style created by vloggers and bloggers and putting models to do the job. I still didn’t started my blog officially but I think is pretty dishonest since they could do a partnership with real bloggers. When Lookbook still was a “point” for fashion bloggers I remember seeing models being paid to post looks and tag stores and no one talked about that at the time.

    • Melissa

      Wow, when I first read the blog post, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. But you’re totally right! To make it seem like the model is a regular person doing a tutorial (and a review basically) of a product is very dishonest. The model will never say they dislike the product or show you it’s flaws. The model will also use the product the way the company wants her to instead how a consumer would probably really use it.

      … That’s deep.

  2. Melody Sours

    Like Carla stated I do think that brands should use vloggers for these types of campaigns. They seem to come off less biased than a hired model. I would instantly close a video like this if found on YouTube. I’m much more likely to purchase an item that was sent to a blogger for her honest opinion.

    With that being said, I don’t see the problem with this video. Procter and Gambel did clearly state “Brought to you by” at the beginning.


  3. chantelle pidgley

    I have to agree with Melody its does state ” Brought to you by ” Although the feed back will never be negative due to the model being employed by Procter and Gamble..
    They will probably get a lot of negative feed back on this campaign anyway as most Bloggers have an opinion on this ad now , I’m sure their marketing strategies will change because it has been brought to the attention of the blogging world .Companies tend to use vloggers for these type of Ads as they get real opinions and genuine feed back , so come on PG get in to the real world 🙂

  4. heathernoire89

    It is better when a video states if it is being advertised or sponsored. Trying to come off as just a person blogging about it isn’t very good. She is a known blogger and I have watched her videos before. She tends to not say things on sponsored from what I recall which isn’t good. It is better that she states she is so no confusion on others ends. Thanks for sharing this 🙂