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Video blogging – does a commercial relationship need to be disclosed?

Video blogging (vlogging) – does a commercial relationship need to be disclosed?

Yes! 

A commercial relationship between a vlogger and a business selling a product should be disclosed, to avoid misleading consumers.

In Australia the ACCC has made this clear, but what isn’t so clear is how to disclose it. Fortunately, we can look to the UK for guidance.

Case study

Recently the UK Advertising Standards Authority banned a  beauty vlog  for not making it clear enough that it was controlled by Procter & Gamble. Terms such as ‘sponsored by’ and ‘brought to you by’ were not sufficient to accurately explain the commercial relationship.

The UK body responsible for UK Advertising Codes then released guidance for vloggers about how and when to disclose commercial relationships. 

These guidelines provide good guidance for us here in Australia as the consumer protections laws here are similar. Below are some every brand should keep in mind.

Advertorial vlogs

The vlog is in the style of the vlogger, but the content is decided by the business and the vlogger is paid. Both the business and the blogger should make it clear that the vlog is an ad.  

Product Placement

The independent editorial content contains a commercial message (e.g. product placement). The vlogger should explain that he/she paid for the vlogger to use the product.

Freebies

A business sends a vlogger free product, no strings attached. Provided the business genuinely has no control over the vlogger’s decisions, no disclosure should be necessary.

If you are planning to use a social media influencer, think about whether you and the person spruiking need to disclose the commercial relationship, and how best to disclose it. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, a fixed fee commercial contract review service. Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.

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