Published: 21 January 2015 In this day and age television advertising is really a tiny part of getting a brand out there. For instance the John Lewis advert this Christmas was shared via social media 750,000 times, or the Sainsbury’s advert 400,000 times.

So advertisers try very hard to create an emotional connection to the visitor. For two reasons, first to make you buy a product or remember their brand; second to do their work for them and share the brand engagement around.

Why spend millions putting the advert on TV multiple times when your audience will share it for you. Either by word of mouth “hay did you see the new pile cream advert last night? It’s amazing!” or sharing the advert on social media “for those of you who have been on a different planet this is the Monty the Penguin ad on YouTube enjoy!”.

“Internet users are writing two million blog posts, sending 294 billion emails and posting 400 million tweets... every single day.” – Huffington post

I wrote an article a while back about “Want to cheapen your brand? Create an advert!” in it I shared with you a great advert I found.

It’s awesome and you can’t help but want to show it to other people. I then found out something interesting, Hyundai and Kia were both sued for misleading advertising. The gas mileage ratings had been miscalculated during testing. They were forced to give prefilled gas payment cards to their customers to make up for the misleading figures in the adverts.

I thought well surely if this series of ads was banned then someone at the Advertising Standards Authority ASA would be all over it? This is the line from their website...

“Marketing on companies’ own websites and in other space they control like social networking sites Twitter and Facebook”

The key bit is the part “in other space they control” so if they uploaded the advert to YouTube et al then they must take it down. But what about third parties who upload it, such as those uploading the Kia video above? YouTube will take down content due to copyright infringement, what about advertising standards infringement?

Try searching Q-Ray on YouTube “balance your positive and negative wellbeing forces” there are tons of videos for a company that was told to pay back 87 million dollars to consumers. This is for a product I’ve heard described as modern day snake oil. Reebok EasyTone ads are easily found on YouTube, Reebok was forced to pay 25million for misleading claims; one advert describes them as “better legs and a better butt in every step”.

Personally I think this is just another example that our current infrastructure for copyrighting, standards infringement et al just cannot cope in the new wired world. For one thing what country do the advert standards come from, YouTube is hosted in the states but considering the adverts I’ve seen there give me the UK ASA any day. I wonder if the Internet Society can tell us.        


Richard Brisley

Lead Server-Side Developer


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