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Do you like Oreo cookies?
Do you take pleasure in licking this all-American baked treat?
Fair enough, but vloggers Dan Howell and Phil Lester do.
For those in the know (eg not me), you'll be aware that Dan and Phil present a show on Radio 1 and are also professional video bloggers. (Dan's YouTube Channel danisnotonfire—'The internet support group for people that hate people'—currently has almost 4,200,000 subscribers. Phil, on the other hand, 'only' has about 2,175,000 followers for his 'Amazing Phil' channel.)
Earlier in the summer, they appeared in a video in which they took part in a 'lick race' involving Oreo cookies (don't ask). The two vloggers had been engaged by Mondelez UK Ltd to create ads on behalf of Oreo. They were both paid and provided with the product for use in the video.
Here's how they got on (remember: what is seen cannot be unseen):
A BBC journalist complained to the ASA, which regulates ads in the UK, saying that this video, together with four other videos from various other well-known vloggers, were not 'obviously identifiable as marketing communications'; in other words, they were ads.
Today the ASA agreed.
At the same time, it issued guidance for vloggers on how to avoid making the same mistake as the Oreo vloggers by making it clear when a vlog amounts to advertising:
In its guide, the regulator makes it clear that:
The CAP Code applies to marketing communications on video blogs (“vlogs”) in the same way as it would to marketing communications which appear on blogs or other online sites.
When it comes to Social Media, numerous marketers have fallen foul of the ASA by blurring the line, i
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