Ruth Crilly has earned nearly 300 thousand subscribers by offering make-up tips and tutorials on her channel A Model Recommends. Something else she can now recommend is full disclosures when your video contains an ad.
Crilly, who resides in the UK, recently had a video banned in her home country for violating advertising guidelines. According to the Advertising Standards Authority, Crilly’s video “Easy Lip Makeup Tutorials for Winter Time” failed to properly disclose the fact that it was a paid advertisement for Max Factor cosmetic products.
In fairness to Crilly, the video wasn’t hosted on her own channel but rather was uploaded to “Beauty Recommended,” a channel owned and operated by Procter and Gamble, the conglomerate that owns Max Factor along with number of others cosmetics and lifestyle brands. All videos on the channel are fronted with title cards saying they are “Sponsored by Beauty Recommended, brought to you by Procter & Gamble.” Unfortunately for Crilly and “Beauty Recommended,” UK courts have ruled that phrases like “sponsored by” and “brought to you by” are not specific enough to serve as commercial disclaimers.
The UK has taken a firm stance on undisclosed or underdisclosed advertising by YouTubers in recent months. UK law specifically prohibits content creators from making videos that advertise products without directly disclosing at the start of the video that it is a paid advertisement. Back in November YouTube stars like Dan Howell, Phil Lester, Emma Blackery, PJ Ligouri, and Tom Ridgewell ran afoul of the same rule after participating in a sponsored campaign for Oreo Cookies.
In that case of Oreo, the creators received a warning and were required to annotate the video as an ad. Crilly’s video was banned and Beauty Reccomended will be required to make their “commercial intent clear prior to consumer engagement.” Crilly herself will suffer no consequence as the video was technically the responsibility of Procter and Gamble.
It’s worth noting that the United States has similar rules requiring that creators disclose videos that are ads upfront; however these rules are not as strictly enforced as the UK’s have been in recent months.
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