September 15th, 2016
But what these young viewers may not know, according to the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), an ad industry self-regulatory body, is that often the videos embed ads and the family has become part of the “influencer marketing” network.
For example, this EvanTube Raw video with 13 million views called “Hoverboard Challenge” features the “unboxing” (video parlance for the opening up of a product package) of a hoverboard by family members.
The description that is listed below the video notes:
An ad runs first before the EvanTube YouTube video and is clearly labeled “ad.” But the EvanTube video itself featuring the unboxing is not labeled ad. At the beginning of the video as the children excitedly anticipate what is inside the box, Evan’s father tells viewers that “our friends” at AlienWheels.com sent over this free product for them to try out.
CARU said that videos such as these, which followed paid ads, while disclosing that they feature free products sent by a company, are not clear enough in informing children who watch them that they are ads as well.
More than 80 percent of EvanTube revenues come from the pre-roll ads that run before the videos and about 15 percent come from sponsored products featured in the videos. CARU said that because children may easily recognize the pre-roll commercials as ads they may be even less likely to suspect that further advertisements are actually contained within the EvanTube videos as well.
It recommended that EvanTube “place a clear and prominent audio disclosure stating that the videos are advertisements” before the beginning of any sponsored video.
EvanTube said it would comply and include an oral disclosure at the start of any sponsored video that it is an “ad” or “advertisement.”
For more of TINA.org’s coverage of influencer marketing click here.