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

Birt 15 feb 2021
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: thekinks/status/1265203792754212864 and
BBC trademark policy:
Pitbull and Kodak: pitbull/status/16567622829080576
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:
ISchats 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


  • "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, ISchats titles have to be short and catchy!

    • 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 ...

    • 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

    • .

    • That makes more sense than the title.

    • @Bonjour jn BBQ brn brer. We uv w tun

  • 11:53 is that... a mech mod???

  • Totally agree with everything in this. I have to be more upfront about advertising to my 2k ISchats followers than giant multibillion dollar corporations. That seems strange to me.

  • 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!

  • 11:48 Tom dies

  • Seriously, I'm not from the UK, can you tell me which one is Ant ans which one is Dec?

  • Is this Tom from myspace?

  • 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.

  • "My usual apple ear buds"?

  • 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.

  • South Korea has been very strict about this, look it up Tom. It's really interesting.

  • I love your mock ads! They're dry comedy gold to my tired brain

  • Lovely, but we all know the big companies have too much control to ever let anything like this happen.

  • Seeing tom vape was something I do not want to see ever again.

  • 12:28 "It's time to play: IS THIS AN ADVERT?!" * *cue actual ad* * lmfao well played, ISchats.

  • 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?

  • "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.

  • Sorry, but who really watches sport? The only interesting thing is if someone get hurt really bad...

  • 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.

  • 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

  • I’m sure lobbyists “law influencers” had nothing to do with these blatantly tilted laws.

  • 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

  • One of the best YT videos I accidentally clicked on 👍well done!

  • The vape part killed me. THAT RDA MOD THO

  • Geez, the amount of big you tubers in the comments is astounding.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • If a person is PAID to PROMOTE an item, then yes, they should declare it. Otherwise, If they bought a product with their own money, then they shouldn't have to declare it. I buy Mt Dew once in a while, but most of the time, I make sweet tea. If I happen to have a bottle of Mt Dew in my video, it's because I BOUGHT IT with my OWN money. Should not have to be declared. It's really simple. ISchats is getting too big and needs the snot kicked out of them by the creators. Now if a youtuber is a reviewer, and they receive an item for a review, they should at least say it was sent to them for review, and then they should give an HONEST review of it. If the company sends an item for a positive review, then the reviewer should send it back.

  • The intro. Absolute gold.

  • Tom vaping gave me courage that anyone can be sober lmfao. 11:45

  • "Time to play - is this an advert?" *2 youtube ads pop up*

  • As a kid, I knew even home video games cheated but we owned those cartridges. The nature of Arcade meant it was a scam to cheat you out of quarters! I think Asphalt 8 was the game that made me let go! Now Pay to Win is the true name of cell phone games!

  • 6:05 i know that bedroom and idk where from (wait it's evan edinger's omg)

  • Hi, i have a question about your mouth operated fog machine, is that safe? I a trying to find ways to avoid peer pressure by saying I dont do things like 0% alcohol beer and a mouth operated fog machine would fit that mo.

  • yooo tom be gameing doe

  • Absolutely no reason that the sponsors can't be posted during the opening credits.

  • What're the edge cases to those regulations? Like at what point would a ISchatsr vs a movie get in trouble for an extra or a rando walking past while using a product or do they have to be interacted with by the main cast to be something of significance?

  • Main problem I have is two different sets of standards for individual influencers and for large entities. There should be one consistent set of regulations for everyone

  • its like how gambling sites use their '.net' address with only play money for advertisements but then offer real money games on their '.com" site

  • 14:47 Superman head-butted the habit.

  • Since money can distort the public forum so much, isn't the evil in question rather obvious? By allowing more affluent entities greater influence, you allow them an extent of control that may be rather small but is often rather large (see corporate media) and is distinctively undemocratic. In Germany for example, threatening the democratic, Liberal order of the state is grounds for an organisation to be banned (see the KPD which was forbidden in 1956). The USA have similarly if not more so cracked down on Communists during the Cold War, so they should have similar rules in place that have already been applied in the past.

  • 28:02 Liberals destroyed

  • Are you related to Barry scott

  • I didn't have one yes or no advert right

  • On one hand, this video may help inspire the UK to tighten their advertising restrictions on other forms of media outside of the internet. On the other hand, this video may inspire influencers in the US to start a class action lawsuit to repeal the US's influencer restrictions.

  • Great video Tom, I wonder if the reduced regulation on tv has anything to do with soap companies creating soaps....chicken or the egg scenario with advertising and shows...

  • "I am morally complicit in this"

  • I just assume any brand name I see might be an advertisement.

  • So funny that this upload is full of ads..

  • If people are stupid enough to not think about things and that leads them to buy products because someone else used them then too bad, if someone lies to sell products then they should be dealt with.

  • I pay for ISchats Premium, and so I am not supposed to have commercials. Now I visit your channel and I have to sit through sponsorship. I would rather have a warning so I can move past your video.

    • Ok. so I am further in the video. The question should be more like "why does the GOVERNMENT require discloser for ads and not film, tv and other forms of traditional media... makes more sense now!

  • 11:47, my favorite moment.

  • Im probably wrong, but maybe the rule for a social media influencer to disclose ads on yt is for younger audience, I would be inclined to believe "adults" would know what an ad is and that the influencer probably doesn't care about the product or game or whatever. Idk

  • I think you shouldn't have to disclose anything, but the double standard is troublesome.

  • The UK restrictions on political advertising only restrain challengers, since officeholders or famous people need only appear at functions looking good, to get tons of free publicity, to boost their personal brand. Politicians know this and use it everywhere.

  • scot is getting old

  • The stiff shingle randomly balance because toilet erroneously guess against a nosy burglar. grotesque, tightfisted bait

  • "Junket" as you call them are very popular with Doctors. Given by big Pharma.

  • That's a great question. Why is that???

  • So much great info. So glad I found your channel!

  • I'm sad that the scene from Kung Pow isn't here. It's the best scene of advertisement that's not an advertisement clearly played as a joke.

  • you can just say rigged like a slot machine. they're designed the same way. gives you just enough to think you're winning

  • I'm declaring that my feet hurt, yet again.

  • Funny, but just before you played the 30 Rock clip, I got a ISchats ad interrupting. I was going to be really impressed.

  • Question: can drug companies market directly to patients in the UK like they do here in the USA?

    • No. Not prescription meds, just OTC. We did start seeing Viagra ads but they were more advertising the online pharmacy service supplying it, I think.

  • Great video, always enjoy yours. Are the cliffs in the back ground the seven sisters?

  • Very interesting video. Some of it seems a little silly but as a whole picture I get what Britain is trying to do. I wish Canada had similar laws.

  • Nobody should have to declare anything. Use your brain to figure it out.

  • Cus corporations are better than people and deserve less restrictions /s

  • Why don't youtube just create an overlay so that the user can choose if they see the "P" or not? The influencers then only need to use the system to add the indicators rather than having to bake them into the videos. In fact, considering how smart-TVs are becoming the norm, why not make that the case for all media?

  • Are you getting older?

  • Sometimes I forgot how fashy the UK is on free speech. Oi, pay yer BBC tax or the bobbies will bonk you.

  • This comment is not sponsored.

  • "No influencer has the money to challenge them" No, Mr. Beast does.

  • tom scott, the realest guy on this website

  • What a highly interesting and informative video! And yet entertaining. On Swedish state television or radio, I notice that when an interviewee mentions a brand name, the interviewer has to say "Or any similar brand", which always sounds corny, because the brand already got its mention to a large public. Very clever reasoning, Tom, I enjoyed it immensely!

  • Im wondering uder which countries regulation do people need to follow... Where you register your company, what passport do you have, in which country you are currently residing in???

  • On this episode of America is weird...

  • I disagree. Regulations should be loosened for “influencers”.

  • It's so calming to have no influence on anything whatsoever.

  • "So the FCC won't let me be Or let me be me, so let me see They try to shut me down on MTV But it feels so empty, without me".

  • You've met Concert filling, Fortnite invading and has a meal in his name Travis Scott; get ready for smooth, persuasive, can sell you the shirt off your back and all around people's person, Tom Scott.

  • Nice bit o beachy head.

  • ISchats recommended this video to me. So glad it did. Brilliant job!

  • Or in the United States a High Fructose Corn Syrup filled drink. However MEXICAN Coke is still NOTa joke.

  • ISchats has relentlessly recommended this to me over and over again, even putting it as my "Up Next", so now I am watching it, I guess.

  • The UK sounds like a frightening hellscape.

  • The agreeable success moberly tire because fact putatively bless from a poised pumpkin. grumpy, jumbled swan

  • 11:46 PURE GOLD

  • this was a big statement lets see if it gains any traction

  • "mouth operated fog machine" 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  • BBC had a monopoly on radio in the UK holy crap

  • In 1970 the only legal radio station in UK was BBC. O.o What?

  • i got 2 ads on this video...

  • Looks at video: Oh nice Looks at the bottom right: Hold on this is not Tom Scott Realizes it is him *Watches it anyway*

  • I got a youtube advert when you said "is this an advert?" it was on purpose, right? You really are the Hideo Kojima of youtube

  • Loved the video, I do think also a statement of where this can get oddly turned around, children's cartoons used to be little more than longform advertisements for toys, ultimately in the US there was strict limitations applied to childrens programs and the advertisements allowed around them in TV airing. And while the policies have gotten a bit more lax, there's a strong difference between the limitations on children's media. ISchats's highest grossing youtuber is aimed at children, and so are the adds that play on it.

  • "Is this an advert?" - and a ISchats ad starts playing.

  • when Tom said it's time to play is this an advert, I got a midroll ad.

  • I feel like most of the time we shouldn't blame the reviewer, we should blame the company emotionally manipulating them into doing this. And before anyone says it, it's not "being nice". The company doesn't give its EMPLOYEES all-expenses-paid beach trips. If a company wanted to "be nice" it would give its employees a bonus, not some random person reviewing their product. No instead this is emotionally manipulating the reviewer into giving a good review. The reviewer shouldn't be blamed for that, anyone could fall for it. The COMPANY should be blamed for these tactics, not the reviewer.

    • Ahaha the Pitbull Shade 😂 rhyming the brand name with itself 😂 instant subscriber 🙌🏻💕