Dutch vloggers with large followings are still breaking the advertising code by being unclear about whether or not they are paid for promoting products, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.
In 2017, the Dutch media authority established that 75% of vloggers – or influencers – were not disclosing their ties with advertisers.
The FD looked at dozens of well-known Dutch vloggers and the companies that are using them to plug their wares and found that at least four major companies in the Netherlands are paying vloggers for product placement.
While not illegal in itself it is against the code agreed by advertisers, who are supposed to ‘take action against product placement by vloggers’, the paper said.
Opel cars, for instance, gave vlogger Jamie Li a discount of a lease car in exchange for a plug while auction site Marktplaats used vloggers for a competition. Corendon flew vlogger Anna Nooshin to Greece and clothes brand NA-KD was found to use vloggers on a large scale. In all four cases it was not clear (enough) whether or not the vloggers had received money, the FD said.
The advertising industry watchdog Stichting Relcalme Code has now started a campaign to promote transparency about remuneration for plugging products. According to a survey by government budgeting body Wijzer in Geldzaken, vloggers are influential and half of Dutch children have at some point bought products promoted by them.
Digital marketing organisation IAB said in a reaction that upholding the code is ‘essential’ for consumer trust, and advertisers union BVA said ‘not disclosing [financial ties] can harm the the reputation of both vloggers and brands.’
In a year’s time a new media law will ban product placement on Youtube (but not Instagram), the FD writes. The Dutch media authority will then be able to fine vloggers who break the rules, although according to the BVA this will be hard to police and it will still be up to advertisers and vloggers to respect the rules.
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