How Kim Kardashian Helped Bring Down The Video Message Smugglers

by Alicia Simpson

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

New video blogging rules mean no more disguised ads on your favourite YouTube channels. Our PR agency explains how it could affect your business

Kim Kardashian fell foul of strict social media rulesLIKE IT or loathe it, when Kim Kardashian posts photos on social media it’s kind of a big deal.

Unsurprising when she has 44.9m followers on Instagram, 34.9m followers on Twitter and 26m Facebook likes. That’s the kind of reach TV networks dream of.  As a result, every revelation she makes or insight she shares is pored over by newspapers, online news channels and web commentators.

Whatever your opinion, it also means the well upholstered former reality TV star carries a real and powerful influence. It crowns her as one of the planet’s foremost tastemakers, with the ability to shape trends particularly in the realms of celebrity, fashion, make up and hair styling. Oh aye … and in unusual baby names.

So when kurvy Kim shared news of the wonder drug which had settled here widely-reported morning sickness woes, it was leapt on by pregnant young women the world over experiencing similar debilitating symptoms.

Instagram logoSporting her trademark flawless skin, glossy pout and smoky eyes, Kim posted a selfie on Instagram holding a plastic tub of the US morning sickness treatment, Diclegis. The accompanying words gushed: “OMG. Have you heard about this? As you guys know my #morningsickness has been pretty bad.”

But as the post attracted hundreds of thousands of likes and shares, the star was quickly forced to delete it, because it fell foul of strict rules from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on advertising prescription drugs.

So, we have to thank the most famous Kardashian sister for neatly and expertly summing up one of the greatest challenges of the internet era.

Traditional publishers, newspapers, magazines and broadcasters have to abide by strict rules on advertising standards – not least among the many rules is that advertising has to be clearly marked as such.

However, in the world of social and digital media that transparency is often lacking, prompting the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), to publish new guidance for video bloggers (or vloggers) in the past month.

Some may scoff at the concept of video bloggers, but the top young talent in this emerging area are earning significant sums of money, commanding up to £50,000 for a single video. Brands and advertisers are desperate to experiment with new channels that reach young people who have switched off from TV, radio and newspapers.

Blogger Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella Familiarise yourself with some of the most influential and highest-earning British names in the emerging world of vlogging, including hot shot Zoe Sugg, known to her fans as Zoella

Let’s be clear, this move isn’t purely to prevent sneaky vloggers from smuggling disguised adverts into their incredibly popular video missives. In fact a number of

vloggers complained they were coming under pressure from advertisers to keep deals a secret.

Those same advertisers know that a paid endorsement doesn’t carry anywhere near the same clout as a genuine, freely given and hard-earned endorsement. There are many younger people who view vloggers as role models and will buy a product if it is being recommended by them.

The new guidance follows an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling last year when vloggers promoting American biscuits failed to disclose they had been paid. One YouTube video in particular – Dan and Phil’s ‘Oreo Licking race’ – was singled out for special criticism as it had been paid for by Oreo owner, Mondelez without any disclosure.

video camera operatorThere is no doubt that the rise of YouTube and other video sharing sites has heralded the rise of video as a hugely powerful and accessible way to communicate with an audience.

The new CAP rules are the first ever guidance for vloggers to help them understand how they should inform their followers when they have been paid by an advertiser to feature products in their videos – to ensure no-one be misled by the content.

The guidance issued by the CAP gives a list of eight scenarios of the types of commercial relationships that take place between brands and vloggers and when the advertising rules kick in.


If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, then do yourself a favour and check out the new guidance for vloggers by following this links


Action! Business videoAt the moment brands and business targeting vloggers tend to be big companies with major budgets and a wish to get their messages through to hard-to-reach younger people.

But as the phenomenon of online influencers continues to spread, Scottish businesses large and small are likely to start dipping their toe in the waters, reaching out to local vloggers, podcasters and anyone with a niche social media channel which reaches the right audience.

At Holyrood PR we have experience of pitching to various types of media – from journalists on traditional news outlets to pitching to vloggers and bloggers. We have the skills needed to help ensure your business is getting the media exposure you require – while keeping within the guidelines.


Essential behind the scenes guide to the work of a public relations agencyFind out how to ensure your public relations campaign is ‘Pitch Perfect’, by checking out our essential guide for businesses which takes you Through the Keyhole of PR


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    Private: Alicia Simpson

    The profile and biography of public relations professional Alicia Simpson, a junior account executive with award-winning Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh.

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