How to disclose sponsored video projects

info blocks by enterlinedesign via Shutterstock

Pic by enterlinedesign via Shutterstock

Whenever you work with brands, it’s important to let your followers know. On a post, that can be quite straightforward. But when you’re creating video, it can be difficult to know how, when and what good disclosure entails.

BritMums has recently run several campaigns featuring video, and we wanted to share with you the best practices we see and recommend in the blogging world.

When do you need to disclose?

You need to disclose a relationship when a company pays you to say something about a service or product and the company tells you what to say, then you need to disclose. If the entire video is controlled by the brand, then it is advertorial and you need to label it. We give you options on labelling below.

Some background to sponsorship disclosure

Guidance for how to deal with commercial relationships on blogs and vlogs comes from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). Much of their advice is geared toward PRs and brands themselves, which makes our job as content creators trying to figure out what fits with the project we do that much more difficult.

Brand activity in video made headlines with an Oreo campaign in 2014. Oreo asked several high-profile bloggers to take part in a “Lick Race”, paying them to take part and sending them product. The bloggers and the brand came under fire for not being transparent enough about the relationship. The good news: It prompted agencies to draw up guidelines.

BritMums began its Blogging with Integrity campaign back in 2010, promoting ethical practices in everything from attribution and fact-checking to disclosure and professional conduct when dealing with sponsors and brands. We regularly review advice from advisory bodies and update our guidelines.

BritMums recommendations

When you’re doing a video campaign with a brand, the basic tenet is that viewers need to know BEFORE they’re stuck into a video about the relationship you have with a sponsor or advertiser. It needs to be apparent in the title, in the description, in the video itself and in social promotions of the video (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc).

In practice, here are the recommendations for video projects that we’ve made at BritMums, broken out in a handy bulleted list you can use as a tick list for your projects:

  • In the TITLE, include the word #Ad or #Sponsored at the end of the title
  • In the VIDEO itself, include text in a YouTube annotation at the beginning that says:
    a. “Paid promotion OR
    b. “Paid advertisement OR
    c. “This is an advertisement”
    This should appear for at least 4 seconds.
  • In the DESCRIPTION (the text that shows up below the video) include text that describes the project. For example:
    “This video is part of a promotional campaign for BRAND X. I have been paid by BRAND X to make a video about PRODUCT XYZ.”
  • In TWEETS linking to your POST or VIDEO, include #ad or #sponsored at the beginning or end of the tweet. #Spon or #sp is NOT adequate.
  • In images posted on INSTAGRAM or PINTEREST related to the campaign, use #ad or #sponsored at the beginning or end of the post. #Spon or #sp is NOT adequate. If there is sufficient space then you should disclose in the post that payment has been made, e.g. “Paid advertisement”, “Paid promotion” or “This is an advertisement”.

As blogging, social media and commercial campaigns evolve, undoubtedly these guidelines will change as well. We’ll keep you up-to-date with the best practices that we see in the industry and that we use ourselves.

If you run into good examples, tricky problems or questions, we’d love to hear them!

This CAP video tells more about placing disclosure in a video.

Some additional reading

Making ads clear: The challenge for advertisers and vloggers

The ASA ruling on the Oreo vlogging campaign


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BritMums is the UK’s original collective of lifestyle bloggers and digital influencers, fueling the country’s most influential social content. We lead the online conversation with members who are parent social influencers creating content on topics ranging from food, parenting, travel, politics, style and more.

1 Comment

  1. 12 February 2016 / 12:34

    Thanks for featuring this. It’s useful but there are still lots of grey areas. I’ve asked CAP to clarify the following:-
    “While some points in this video are helpful, in practice many items or experiences are given to bloggers and vloggers and the disclosure required is much less clear cut. There may or may not be an agreement between the blogger and the brand to produce video content or the vlogger may just decide to make a video because they enjoyed attending a press event etc. In these cases the words ad or review are misleading as neither are actually factually accurate. It would be very helpful for vloggers to have clear guidance about how or whether they need to disclose in these instances. Do you have plans to offer more detailed guidance in future?