New rules for vloggers outlined by UK ad regulator

American companies will have to get used to new guidelines on working with vloggers in the UK.

LONDON: The Advertising Standards Authority has produced guidelines for vloggers who promote products online, following a ban on a series of ads for Oreo last year.

In November 2014, the advertising standards watchdog ruled that YouTube vloggers did not indicate clearly enough that they were being paid by the brand’s owner, Mondelez, to feature Oreos in their "lick race" videos.

The video makers included Dan Howell and Phil Lester, who then had 2.2 million subscribers on the AmazingPhil channel.

Zoella, the most popular YouTuber in the UK, has 8.5 million subscribers.

The Oreo ruling prompted ASA chief executive Guy Parker to warn that the boundaries between advertising and content "are blurring."

The new rules apply across all media, including online and social media, and state that if a vlogger is paid to promote a product or service and an advertiser controls the message, vloggers must clearly note that they are advertising.

"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," said Shahriar Coupal, the director of the Committees of Advertising Practice. "Our guidance will give vloggers greater confidence that they’re sticking to the rules which in turn will help maintain the relationship and trust they’ve built with their followers."

The guidelines covers sponsorship, product placement, "advertorial," vlogs, vloggers promoting their own products, and brands sending vloggers items for free with no editorial control of the content.

The ASA will discuss the new guidelines with other trade bodies in the country.

This story originally appeared on Campaign.

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