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OREO’s licked by ASA CAP Code

26 November 2014

In our autumn BAM seminar, we focused on the increasing difficulties that advertisers are encountering when using new advertising platforms in light of the hurdles set out by the CAP Code.

Today brings the publication of an ASA decision which reminds advertisers using editorial-styled online video ads of the importance of making the commercial nature of their ads clear prior to consumer engagement. The ASA upheld a complaint by a BBC journalist that Mondelez UK Ltd- the owners of the Oreo biscuit brand- had breached the CAP Code with five YouTube videos from video bloggers (or ‘vloggers’), in which the vloggers took part in a ‘Lick Race’ which promoted Oreos.

The CAP Code requires ads to be obviously identifiable as marketing communications; something that – in the ASA’s view – ads in this form and editorial-style do not make immediately clear. The references to Oreo in some of the videos suggested their involvement, but did not make clear the commercial extent of the relationship; i.e. that Mondelez had paid for and had editorial control over the videos.

Vlogging will increasingly be a focus for the ASA; vloggers must make it clear when publishing a paid-for ad- at the outset of the ad- to avoid falling foul of the CAP Code.

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