A YouTube makeup tutorial posted by the blogger was titled:
“BeautyBay Full Face Tutorial with Some First Impressions!”
The video shows the blogger trying various makeup products she had been sent by the online makeup retailer BEAUTY BAY to create a tutorial and provide ‘first impression’ feedback. The description which was immediately visible underneath the video stated:
“SO SORRY FOR THE LIGHTING. I’m still learning & trying to figure out what works best for me at the minute so apologise in advance if it’s different each time & also the echo in the room. I have teamed up with beauty bay to bring you this full-face tutorial with some first impressions in there too.”
After clicking ‘Show More’ the description continued with the below text:
“All of the products used will be listed down below & I have a discount code "ELLIE10" which will only run for 1 week that can be used on the site on any full price products. I have never ordered off beauty bay so this was a first timer working with them!”
Below the list of products used during the tutorial, the description finished by stating:
“*This video is sponsored by BeautyBay*”
The complainant felt the post was misleading as ‘#ad’ had not been included in either the title or the thumbnail of the video. They felt it was therefore unclear that it was a sponsored tutorial.
Response from the blogger:
The blogger said that she thought she had made it clear that the video was sponsored by writing “I have teamed up with BeautyBay” in the start of the description and by including “*This video is sponsored by BeautyBay*” at the end.
She confirmed that she had received payment for the YouTube videos but said that she had not been given direction on how to inform the public that it was paid work.
She advised that the video title had since been amended to include “AD”.
Response from the brand:
The brand said that they take compliance with legislation and advertising codes very seriously and that they take several steps to ensure that the individuals they work with are aware they must comply with advertising regulations when posting paid advertising content. They said that they have contracts in place for all paid influencer activity, including the blogger in question, which contain specific provisions regarding compliance with advertising regulations. They provided an excerpt of such a clause which states that:
“The Consultant shall ensure that all Works (as defined in clause 3.1) that are provided in the performance of the Services and which are intended to be made, or are made, publicly available (in whatever form) comply with all applicable codes of practice or adjudication of the Committee of Advertising Standards Authority in force from time to time (including all relevant guidance notes), together with all other laws, statutes and regulations applicable to the Services and/or the Works (“Advertising Regulations”). The Consultant shall provide the Services in a transparent manner which makes it clear that the Consultant has a commercial relationship with the Client and that any Works published are identified as marketing communications in accordance with Advertising Regulations, which shall include (without limitation) using identifiers such as “Beauty Bay Brand Ambassador”, “advert”, “advertisement”, “ad” or “spon”.”
The brand said they review these contracts regularly to ensure they are up to date with current practices, codes and legislation, and that they often remind influencers of their obligations to follow the appropriate guidelines.
They said that, having reviewed the video in question and considering the presentation as a whole on YouTube, they considered a viewer would be aware that the post was sponsored for a number of reasons. Firstly, they said, the blogger stated in the description “I have teamed up with BEAUTY BAY” and “I have never ordered off BEAUTY BAY so this was a first timer working with them!” They said that this indicated that a commercial relationship existed.
They also said the description stated “*This video is sponsored by BEAUTY BAY*” and that they considered viewers of this type of video would naturally be interested in the details of the make-up products and would therefore be drawn to the description, where they would see that the video was sponsored by BEAUTY BAY.
However, they said, they were willing to cooperate with the Executive’s inquiry as they strive to have industry-leading best practices for influencer marketing and make all best endeavours to remind influencers of the guidelines they should follow when posting paid activity.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ and the blogger’s responses. They noted that the statements used in the video to indicate the commercial relationship were only visible when the viewer clicked on ‘Show More’. They also noted that the title had now been amended to include ‘Ad’.
The Committee acknowledged the amendment that had been made. However, they considered that it should have been immediately apparent at the time of publication that the post was a marketing communication prior to consumer engagement through the use of “#ad/#sp” in the video title.
In the circumstances the Complaints Committee considered that at the time of initial publication the advertising was in breach of Sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.
As the advertisement had already been amended, no further action was required.