YouTubers have to declare ads. Why doesn't anyone else?

26 306
Around the world, there are regulations for "influencers". Those regulations make sure that if someone is paid to endorse a product, they have to declare that payment to the people watching. But why does no-one on TV, or film, or anywhere else have to do that?
Written and performed by TOM SCOTT
Script assistant ANDREA MARKS
"Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight" by Rose/Broom/Breuer (1924), arranged for orchestra by BENJAMIN SQUIRES
Filmed safely:
© Pad 26 Limited MMXXI
Lonnie Donegan changing Spearmint: mentioned in a lot of places, but I can't find a contemporary account.
Ray Davies flying: and
BBC trademark policy:
Pitbull and Kodak:
Pitbull and Voli: "Owned and operated by Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull"
Gucci on Lil Pump: no quotes, but given the lyrics and video, it's safe to say they didn't have control
YMCA reaction:,10172867
US Code Title 15:
Nikkie de Jager, One Dip Makeup Challenge:
Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers [PDF]:
An Influencer’s Guide to making clear that ads are ads [PDF]:
The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking:
NOburn declaration:
"Branded content pods":
Farrow and Ball:
Branson cameo:
Superman's $40,000:
Bond placement:
Lorraine Kelly's tax bill:
"Moms' conference":
SNT viewing figures:
"19 years in a row":
"Can't find any other example" of the castle being covered:
Ofcom on product placement in UK TV:
"One article on a tabloid web site":
FCC, "The FCC and Freedom of Speech":
US Bill of Rights:
First Amendment exceptions: fact-checked by legal experts, but best summarised on Wikipedia:
Commercial speech:
Communications Act 2003:
Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom:
CMA, "Social media endorsements: being transparent with your followers":
German product placement:
00:00 Intro
00:58 1. Payment and Control
05:47 2. You Have To Declare It
09:17 3. No-One Else Has To Declare It
18:03 4. We're Going To Disney World
24:47 5. The Land Of The Free
31:15 Outro
Runtime: 31:48


Tom Scott
Tom Scott - 17 dager siden
"Influencers have to declare sponsorships clearly and up-front. Why doesn't that apply to any other medium?" would have been a much more accurate title, but alas, YouTube titles have to be short and catchy!
skylx08 - 3 timer siden
Only time I heard the lyrics "Does your chewing gum loose its flavor on the bedpost..." was in the Ray Stevens song "A-Hab the A-Rab". ...unclench, its from the 70s.
linkbirds - 9 timer siden
We gotchu fam
JoseitoEdlVodao - 13 timer siden
Because you guys haven't lobbied deep enough. Do you realize you're their competition? I don't have to watch the video but hey, is it easier than Time Zone logic?
0623kaboom - Dag siden
btw north america does have a law that says paid promotion must be declared on all media ... yup those but wait theres more commercials are disclaimed as paid promotions ... just because the UK doesnt have them doesnt mean no one does ...
theAverageGam3r - Dag siden
Great video! To look at all of this backwards, I wonder if there have been cases where influencers / media have paid (to create their media) to talk negatively of a brand and have been subsequently sued for slander
Dr Delewded
Dr Delewded - 9 minutter siden
This guy looks like julian assange, im out.
El Bashar
El Bashar - 18 minutter siden
"Is this an advert?"
*Godaddy ad proceeds to play*
Perfect timing.
CBM - 19 minutter siden
I have a sudden urge to bulk buy red t-shirts.
Eric Meyer
Eric Meyer - 27 minutter siden
It's ya boy. Raid Shadow Legends!
TheMightyKinkle - 27 minutter siden
31:32 'With thanks to Evan Edinger'
I thought I recognised that bedroom!
Max Hülle
Max Hülle - 34 minutter siden
Don't speak with smoke in your lungs Tom!
NC_29 North
NC_29 North - 45 minutter siden
We just liked GME
Pat B
Pat B - 47 minutter siden
Why do so many people seem hellbent on making our music and movies and other content, and the world in general, so mind-numbing? Is the extra cash really worth it? Is this the world you want to create for others as well as yourselves?
TheMightyKinkle - 49 minutter siden
12:31 "Is this an advert?"
*"Download Audible for free with your 30 day free trial"*
NC_29 North
NC_29 North - 49 minutter siden
This comment is not sponsored.
John Dwyer
John Dwyer - Time siden
I love the bit about the ring doorbell.
Kai Stitt
Kai Stitt - Time siden
YouTube: Wanna watch a 30 minute video about a topic that’s never even crossed your mind?
Me: DO I?!
Stabbity Joe
Stabbity Joe - Time siden
I’m eaatimg pringles while watching this video
Heed My Warning
Heed My Warning - Time siden
Online advertising is so ingrained in our culture. Soon, parents will be naming kids "like" and "subscribe".
2020Tech4U - Time siden
Well guess I'm not taking my kids to "Walt Disney World" now...... "Kids, say thanks to Mr. Scott", " THANKS MR. SCOTT!" sorry the temptation got me, not the cologne! Or was it? haha ads!
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson - 2 timer siden
Nevan Howland
Nevan Howland - 2 timer siden
PBDesign - 2 timer siden
what if im selling my bath water?
Nunya Biznas
Nunya Biznas - 2 timer siden
Advertising for something good is fine. It’s fine dude.
Cyjax - 2 timer siden
Wooh how did you make the subtitles blue at 7:34
Sky Leonidas
Sky Leonidas - 2 timer siden
dude who cares just dont buy anything
Arthur Kerr-Sheppard
Arthur Kerr-Sheppard - 2 timer siden
What about doctors and Big Pharma?
Norman Hosford
Norman Hosford - 3 timer siden
Does that include a plot that presents a distorted view of reality to promote a political view? Showing fictional events in ways that make the rare events seem common or the extreme groups seem pervasive? Who would make that decision? Also, is rural England as portrayed by Midsomer really the murder capital of the world?
Christopher Butler
Christopher Butler - 3 timer siden
Intentional or not, that ad playing at "is this an advert" is *chef kiss*.
Krishna Mahesh
Krishna Mahesh - 3 timer siden
Shouldn't we also require that, just as financial contributors have to declare any interest in any companies whose stocks they recommend (long or short), political contributors and "journalists" have to declare any financial or electoral interests in any candidate or party they support? Just for consistency.... Same idea.
Yotrymp - 3 timer siden
Is it a paid placement when news lies to foment war?
ASMR For Dogs
ASMR For Dogs - 3 timer siden
Materially, a film or television studio has a lot more clout for negotiating with a state compared to individuals making online content.
StarFox - 4 timer siden
It’s time to play, is this an advert?
*real ad plays*
Dovki Paul
Dovki Paul - 4 timer siden
seems like fair play, the 'big guys' in entertainment need more regulating, a lot of people view them as being more "legit" so therefore their influence is a lot greater than a random YouTube or Instagram influencer.
Movies should have some time at the start dedicated to showing all the sponsorship/product deals they got for that movie
Ctrl W
Ctrl W - 4 timer siden
RuDuffEnough WellRu
RuDuffEnough WellRu - 5 timer siden
You're right everyone should have to do it, or no one. I'm leaning on the side of everyone.
Shay From Scratch
Shay From Scratch - 5 timer siden
Tom Scott is a national treasure. Not my nation's national treasure, but a national treasure nonetheless. Appreciate him, Britain.
Trace Seger
Trace Seger - 5 timer siden
what beach was this recorded at? looks peaceful
Roy H
Roy H - 6 timer siden
The advert rules kind of blur the line on what a lie or deception really is. Or false pretenses. Lying, when made illegal, in the US comes with steep penalties. Many states don't have laws about lying to police, but the Feds can throw you in prison for several years for lying to them even though you're under no obligation at all to even talk to them. I'd be more comfortable with lies being punishable if they were misdemeanors. But then again some lies are the vehicles for theft, paperwork fraud, falsehoods to make a sale knowing the customer is basing their decision on the lie, otherwise known as separating a person from their money.
Piero Vergara
Piero Vergara - 6 timer siden
Hmmm. I get your point, but this would only be necessary if the world were mainly comprised of impulsive, superficial clueless dunces.... Which I would argue...
may not be too far from the truth so i guess I forgot what I was trying to say now bye.
Piero Vergara
Piero Vergara - 6 timer siden
For real tho, I think the limitations make sense in the realm of political thought - though on the flipside, making law that regulates political advertising would allow a hegemonic political faction to maintain power indefinitely without contest simply by choosing who they decide to strictly implement their legislative shackles on. Sounds familiar.... Hmmmmm
joseph mullan
joseph mullan - 6 timer siden
I think r.e. The Disneyland thing, they perhaps got away with it by wording Disneyland less as a product but rather as a collaboration between two production companies. When Rick and Morty were in the opening sequence of the simpsons, you wouldn’t say that’s product placement. (I do think it’s very muddled and a bit morally bankrupt to shove adverts in faces that much)
siriusflood - 6 timer siden
Whilst it doesn't count as an advert, calling a box mod a "vape pen" could be breaking rules on obscenity.
Felippe Silveira
Felippe Silveira - 6 timer siden
When Tom said: "Is this an advert?" at 12:31 , I got an ad on the video 😂
Gerry Phibbs
Gerry Phibbs - 7 timer siden
Tom - your presentation has got me thinking, which I suspect was your goal. Your points are well taken, and well supported. While I too would prefer a set of universal media constraints - not necessarily *just* for product placements and concealed ads, I wonder whether the time and effort involved would be considered well invested. The technologies of media are changed so quickly, that "rules" set up today, simply may not apply at a future time when said technologies have evolved to effectively conceal such advertising. At 70 now, I've lived through enough revolutions, both social and technological, to know that they will continue to happen, often when we least expect or understand what's actually happening. When I was in school, we were taught to use slide rules for physics and math classes. At the time, handheld calculators were just showing up in the market - bulky battery operated affairs that varied greatly, depending on the brand and the cost. However, we were not permitted to use them in those classes! It violated school policies, as well as the teachers' preferences. Today in similar educational systems, each student is expected to have a high end cell phone, capable of doing tasks undreamed back in those days! What sort of technical achievements might the next generation (or two) be expected to have, and what sort of new tasks will be part of their daily lives? Rather than just advertising on TV, or on a YouTube video, I'd expect to see non-stop feeds of advertising directed at whatever the next cell phones are, and that those same ads will be seamlessly incorporated into most (or all) of the functions of said devices. Because such ad-streams are not broadcast over traditional TV channels, will they be subject to the same sorts of considerations? Probably not - so will one of the all-too-soon-to-arrive-future careers be in generating or possibly regulating that sort of streaming advertising directed at everyone's individual personal media device? I hope that you continue to consider all the possibilities, as well as the potential ramifications of the various forms of advertising that are surely coming down the pike!
HLGpanda - 7 timer siden
Well you can't spell advertisements without semen between tits.
Richard S
Richard S - 7 timer siden
In many countries there must be inserts like "this video contains product placement", but, well, it's at the end and not at the beginning and not during the video.
And sometimes it reads something like this: "the moderator wears clothing from ...", which is a way of sponsoring and declaring the sponsoring in one message. Well, that's not optimal.
And in big cinema movies there is product placement all over the place, for example the cars and laptops in Bond movies - and they mention it at the end, I'm sure, but who reads these tons of texts at the end of big movies, well I might do to see if I catch something interesting. It's really shocking how many people have been working for one movie.
R. Crosby Lyles
R. Crosby Lyles - 8 timer siden
Brilliant mate! Simply brilliant! Well I think I found out how to deal with Google Talk to text. If I use a slightly British accent it seems to understand me better.
desmond - 8 timer siden
If it bothers you go find a real job
truth betold
truth betold - 8 timer siden
welcome to america . the land of the double standards . word trickery . the american dream is just that .. a dream , unattainable . where our countrys' biggest companies are advertising firms (google/youtube). UK having strict rules is a good thing. it doesnt allow companies to be as deceptive. over here in the states , they allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise their designer drugs even though taking them may result in growing extra limbs and even death. yes we have freedom of speech .... unless other people can hear you. just keep in mind that america is full of sh!t. just open your eyes and you can see right through our BS
Bandito Dorito
Bandito Dorito - 9 timer siden
The bed is a green screen because there is a green outline on Tom
Ptao Tom
Ptao Tom - 9 timer siden
Ok, so people can’t lie to manipulate the stock market, but can they tell the truth to manipulate the stock market?
Minutewave - 9 timer siden
i loved how you covered up the costa milkshake logo lmao
wesley strickland
wesley strickland - 9 timer siden
Loud af jesus.
Ptao Tom
Ptao Tom - 9 timer siden
The BBC had a monospony on it not a monopoly. It is a suddtle difference and a word that is now mostly forgotten. But still a cool word.
tosspot1305 - 9 timer siden
I want 'The Ring' doorbell sooo much!
Augie Grant
Augie Grant - 10 timer siden
great video
Team Muggi
Team Muggi - 10 timer siden
"Better get the Serious Toothpaste!"
z gaio
z gaio - 10 timer siden
Who cares about ad timing, Tom just took the fattest cotton rip I've ever seen
Ponder & Prank
Ponder & Prank - 10 timer siden
It’s time to play: Is This an Advert? ad plays
Jesus Fried Christ
Jesus Fried Christ - 11 timer siden
South Park was right. The ads are taking over.
M S - 11 timer siden
UK has to have a "P" in the top corner to state product placement. Coronation Street does this, especially after they rebuilt the Street set and suddenly, Corrie has a Costa and a Co-op. 🤣🤣🤣
Emanon Kianols
Emanon Kianols - 11 timer siden
That little effort of American and British narration of the laws was smooth. It's the little tings!
M S - 12 timer siden
Brilliant this. 👍🏻
Emanon Kianols
Emanon Kianols - 12 timer siden
I didn't get the ad everyone is talking about..
The Noobest Girl
The Noobest Girl - 12 timer siden
"America - The land of the free" should be in quotations
xXFallenHyperionXx - 12 timer siden
>Spending money shouldn't be considered speech.
Absolutely untrue. When you donate to a political candidate, you are put onto a donor list. Could you imagine what would happen if spending money wasn't considered speech? People could aggregate a list of people who donated to a certain candidate and charge them or otherwise abuse them with government power. All so Disney doesn't get Tom Brady to say he's going to Disney World after his Super Bowl win?
Nigel nigel
Nigel nigel - 12 timer siden
The BBC are very good at advertising/promoting non fully tested, trial vaccines.
Vinnie Novido
Vinnie Novido - 12 timer siden
"Is this an advert?" Youtube - "i'm gonna play an advert here!"
Fairydance Creations
Fairydance Creations - 12 timer siden
The BBC had a monospony on it not a monopoly. It is a suddtle difference and a word that is now mostly forgotten. But still a cool word.
MPSESRA - 13 timer siden
Right after "you have right to know when you are advertised" at 28:55 it showed "beginning of commercial 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.."
Robert Guttke
Robert Guttke - 13 timer siden
The erect periodical preauricularly remember because shark physiologically live down a spotty spruce. ablaze, knowledgeable tennis
FLuffyxKittyCat - 13 timer siden
i love how this all started with Tmartn and Syndicate when they didnt disclose that they owned the CS GO lotto site. Everyone went insane and since then people had to disclose it properly
James Field
James Field - 13 timer siden
Great intro
Bryan Gore
Bryan Gore - 13 timer siden
It's all about control. If you build your own ham radio, and start broadcasting; you can say whatever you like. The only way to stop you, is for someone to come break down your door. So the government won't usually bother you unless there is a really good reason. It's one of the benefits of having a well armed population that likes throwing tea into the harbors. :)
jirodyne - 13 timer siden
I've seen this arguement before, years ago. And from that I know why, at least here in America, TV and Movies don't have to do the same thing online media personal does. The answer, of course, is money. If Shows and Movies had to disclaim, up front, they were advertising. Then many people wouldn't watch those movies and shows anymore. So both A, the show/movie wouldn't make any money from Viewers. But also B, the companies who paid for the Advert wouldn't make any money or influence either and have ended up wasting money, and gained nothing. Those companies giving adverts, don't want that. They want to make money, they want their products known. And they used their money to make sure the FCC and other Government Entities don't ever make Laws restricting them.
DaddyKids Vlogs
DaddyKids Vlogs - 13 timer siden
Your stood in front of white cliffs. Is this a half hour long advert to promote the late Dame Vera Lynn’s greatest hits cd?
xclimatexcoldxx - 14 timer siden
If lies didn't exist, neither would this video.
To be clearer, all product placement would be genuinely what the person loves, paid or not.
xclimatexcoldxx - 14 timer siden

Law: That's all you need!
themadmallard - 15 timer siden
@16:00 i dont think thats the rationale. I think its actually a different issue altogether when it comes to the online spaces like Youtube. Its because a contributor who uploads and also has some kind of advert content in what they upload are actually in a small way becoming a sub-platform to the platform, in this case Youtube. This sets up a direct competition relationship at a certain level. I think this is the reason why these are treated differently. the other entertainment outlets dont take the shape of an advertising company in the way Google/alphabet, or any of these companies that sell your info to advertisers do. not making a case that its right, just pointing out something.
Sebastian Sean Crow
Sebastian Sean Crow - 15 timer siden
11:53 is that... a mech mod???
Trueflight Silverwing
Trueflight Silverwing - 15 timer siden
Totally agree with everything in this. I have to be more upfront about advertising to my 2k YouTube followers than giant multibillion dollar corporations. That seems strange to me.
Miles Harrison
Miles Harrison - 16 timer siden
28:06 - Ohhhh, after 28 mins I get why this was filmed somewhere in the SOUTH-EAST of England... Trollery aside, one of your best videos Tom... Keep it up!
Aidan5f - 16 timer siden
11:48 Tom dies
Stephen White
Stephen White - 16 timer siden
Seriously, I'm not from the UK, can you tell me which one is Ant ans which one is Dec?
Thomas Herbort
Thomas Herbort - 16 timer siden
Is this Tom from myspace?
Nad Senoj
Nad Senoj - 16 timer siden
Everyone else does... This is stupid. The Phrase " AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS " Is synonymous with television!
To imply that PAID AD SLOTS, are not a commonly understood thing is the height of ignorance.
Stephen White
Stephen White - 16 timer siden
"My usual apple ear buds"?
Stephen White
Stephen White - 16 timer siden
Here in Australia, we have a government broadcaster similar to the BBC called the ABC. We have had many competing commercial broadcasters for quite some time but the ABC has a similar history regarding advertising.
I have always wondered whether it is advertising for a radio station to play music, that a listener may choose to purchase.
Mirza Razak
Mirza Razak - 16 timer siden
South Korea has been very strict about this, look it up Tom. It's really interesting.
Jorrus Kurren
Jorrus Kurren - 17 timer siden
I love your mock ads! They're dry comedy gold to my tired brain
dawfydd - 17 timer siden
Lovely, but we all know the big companies have too much control to ever let anything like this happen.
Meticulous The Great
Meticulous The Great - 17 timer siden
Seeing tom vape was something I do not want to see ever again.
The WhiteTrashPanda
The WhiteTrashPanda - 17 timer siden
12:28 "It's time to play: IS THIS AN ADVERT?!" * *cue actual ad* * lmfao well played, YouTube.
Vodoyem - 18 timer siden
I don't think it makes a difference for a viewer whether the product in a video is paid promotion or honest positive (unpaid) endorsement of an influencer. That makes things even more complicated. What about paid review which results in negative opinion?
Same goes for product placement- what if people simply like cliffs behind you at the end of the video and will want to travel there? How is it different for a vierwer if a local tourism agency paid you for filming there to promote the area?
The WhiteTrashPanda
The WhiteTrashPanda - 18 timer siden
"Disguised gambling game" is hilarious.
What's truly sad is I've become so desensitized to those types of ads or sponsor spots, it took me a couple minutes to realize it was actually satire.
MeisterANT - 18 timer siden
Sorry, but who really watches sport? The only interesting thing is if someone get hurt really bad...
Grimjaw Jackerjack
Grimjaw Jackerjack - 18 timer siden
This video isn't sponsored yet it kept popping off to my recommed even though I told youtube never recommend this channel nor I like this video. But Still.
Blind Faith
Blind Faith - 19 timer siden
i believe that its because a tv show is so massively expensive that it almost never can survive without sponsors so we already expect it from them while with an "influencer" we expect them to be genuine. its also a more immediate platform thus we are predisposed to see it as a more "real" opinion. if i
J P - 19 timer siden
I’m sure lobbyists “law influencers” had nothing to do with these blatantly tilted laws.
SpeckOfDignity - 20 timer siden
I was really surprised when I watched Captain America: Civil War on Disney+ and they mentioned “paid promotion” in the warnings for the movie because of Cap stealing and driving (obviously with a lingering shot on the logo) a truck (I genuinely cant remember what company it was, I think either Ford or Toyota). Yet on Netflix when watching Quantico, where for multiple whole episodes they only referred to a truck the main character stole and was driving as “the blue Tacoma”, and had many lingering shots of the logo or the Tacoma name on the side, yet no warning was there. The enforcement is clearly not consistent or is just entirely not there and for once in their life Disney decided to err on the side of good
Dearyvette TN
Dearyvette TN - 20 timer siden
One of the best YT videos I accidentally clicked on
👍well done!
Surviver - 20 timer siden
The vape part killed me. THAT RDA MOD THO
CekoJuna - 20 timer siden
Geez, the amount of big you tubers in the comments is astounding.
Tim Sawyer
Tim Sawyer - 21 time siden
I think it's safe to say all forms of media that take money for advertising should be declaring it.. But I believe the main reason why social infuencers need to be extremely clear about it, is because an overwhelmingly large portion of their audience is comprised of very impressionable children.. Call me a liar... This Social Media age has become an advertising monster.. Right now you'd be hard pressed to find a child anywhere in the world that isn't "Influenced" by someone on the internet.. Most children have been raised by them... I know it's good money and the majority of them have worked hard to get where they are, but honestly, being a "Social Influencer" has to be one of the grossest jobs in history.. They are all one notch above predators handing out candy from a van... And the companies paying them all to advertise are no better. Big corporations have been trying like hell to find a way to advertise to kids forever.. Now they have it.. That's why you have a job, Tom Scott. Sleep well.
MarioDCreator Gaming
MarioDCreator Gaming - 21 time siden
Well I liked the video because I believe it to be a very good argument but I disagree for a couple reasons. I believe that people should be able to advertise whatever they want and they don’t have to say anything about them gaining anything from it but I do believe this should apply to anyone not just super rich people and corporations. Now it’s up to the people who watch tv and entertainment to do their due diligence and figure out if what they want to buy is truly worth it. It is my opinion that people should take responsibility for their own well being and their own money.