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:
ISmem 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, ISmem titles have to be short and catchy!

    • @Harv Pot Delete ads now and ban youtube :)

    • I agree.

    • Ads suck, Do you agree? 1. Yep, it annoys me. 2. NO, I LOVE THEM IDIOT!

    • You got a problem with ISmem it's your right to leave it.. myself as a major shareholder in Google and loving every second of it now shut up and post..

    • I am not going to watch this video. Not because it isn't good, but only because I already know the subject matter. Gave you an upvote and a comment. Hope that is enough support.

  • 12:28 Well, it's time to play: Ad

  • damn I knew I spotted Richard Branson in that film

  • Interesting, one thing not mentioned here, how many times have you read a "news article" that was actually paid content dressed up as news

  • I once watched a video about some dude who has been eating a certain US brand of Mac and Cheese for the past 17 years. That made me go online and order that brand’s Mac and Cheese from the US. It tastes terrible and now I’m wondering whether it was an advert after all.

  • I finally know who Ant and Dec are. I thought they were a boy band or something.

  • 11:45 just a timestamp for me ignore this

  • I mean there is a difference because SNL has never been funny.

  • I always laugh out at the delivery of “classy, I don't think anyone noticed”

  • “It’s time to play: Is this an adv...” Car ad starts at this exact second 🙄

  • Well. TV is waning ....right?

  • This is why you don’t give 100W to a new vaper :)

  • I don't believe that Tom Scott isn't like this off camera

  • 12:31 you bastard, haha

  • Tom, I love you

  • "Oh lord won't you buy me a german luxury car, my friends all drive german sport cars, i must make amends" Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

  • Tom: it’s time to play, is this an advert! ISmem: *plays ad* Me: (´・_・`)

  • Who also watched until the last second to see if there was anything in the credits?

  • "Is this an advert?" *Ad plays* Yes, yes it is.

  • Are people really this stupid these measures are necessary

    • @JOSEPH WODARCZYK ok, and? How does that relate to what I was saying?

    • @Matthew Ockey alcohol ads don't target children.

    • @JOSEPH WODARCZYK ...what

    • @Matthew Ockey I mean if that were the case then why do we have any alcohol ads?

    • It's mostly for children

  • "Flew in from Miami Beach " B O A C " " 1968

  • 11:47

  • Our Constitution is equivalent to a religious text. At least to me.

  • I just got an advert, seconds before Tom asks "is this an advert"...

  • The thing you're trying to find 11:42

  • And right now ISmem wants to tax non US CITIZEN content creators revenue from views they get from the Usa


  • "Inciting imminent lawless action" - Trump must have skipped that one... "Threatening senior politicians"... "Spreading malicious, deliberate lies"... Oh well... I'm Canadian.... He's their problem....

  • Pepsi Ad in the middle of Total Recall (1990)....

  • This is a great video, very informative

  • Should have used the scene from Wayne’s world with the product placement. Great video. Edit: Nevermind

  • Did... Did you just say I'm not your friend Scott? Well that sure is strange considering I've been waiting for an invite to any of your birthdays i can take a hint, scott

  • Idk abt other countries but here in the Netherlands on tv if a show is sponsored they always say so right before the show, in ad breaks, and after the show. “Dit programma wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door...” which is similar to “this show is brought to you by” Or “this show is sponsored by” Sometimes its just one sponsor and sometimes its multiple but here they definitely mention it

  • 11:46

  • Anyone else get a ISmem ad roll right before Tom said "Is this an advert?!" This is getting really meta.

  • 11:46 personal replay button, but you can use it too if you want!

  • for all of you looking for the vape scene: 11:46 enjoy

  • Um, beats by drye? AJR?

  • 11:45 this is the reason why everyone came here

  • Stuff like a junket is common in all of human history.

  • "They look and feel like a random slot machine, but in reality, they're rigged so you win just enough to keep feeding more and more money desperately in the game" So just like every slot machine and casino game ever?

  • I see so many youtubers have thir homemade commercials caay about car buying sites but never declare in the begining of the ad. This way they can double dip with youtube ad's and thier own sponsered ads

  • 11:45 if you are looking for the vape choke part here you go

  • Here you go 11:48, your search is over XD

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Constitution doesn't apply to corporations and businesses, right? Those are human rights, meant to protect the people, not business rights. Sure, maybe Congress added businesses and corporations under those protections, but that would mean Congress would just have to repeal that rather than rewriting the Constitution. Again, I could be wrong, but that was my understanding of the Constitution. It protects citizens, not businesses.

  • 11:46

  • Was this an advertisement for UK laws?

  • 11:45

  • 11:46 I keep laughing at that I don't know why

  • 11:45 for the iconic vaping

  • 11:46 me when I choke on water

  • 12:31 “Is this an adve-“ Gets ad. Well played

  • Tom: I'm going to use car placement as an example in a James Bond movie. Also Tom: Uses the one scene showing a FORD instead of the most famous brand-movie pairing on earth (Aston Martin) Never change!

  • "its time to play, is this an advert ?" *ad plays*

  • 11:45

  • 11:47

  • I have another problem with ISmem’s advertising system. There was a product that two ISmemrs produced in late 2019 and a whole ‘documentary’ was made during it, receiving millions of views each episode. This was the Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star makeup palette, and it was very successful in getting people to buy the product. Should this have been classified and declared as sponsored? It definitely influenced a lot of people to buy the palette, just because of this connection they had made to it from watching the videos. I watched the series as it came out and even bought the product (in possibly my worst buying experience ever as the website crashed and I accidentally bought two in the rush to get it, and shipping from the USA is really expensive!) Personally, I had no interest in makeup but I still wanted this palette so badly. This shows that the videos had something to do with a person’s desire for the product, and what’s messed up is that their target audience was mainly teens. I think there is definitely something wrong with this, as since I was only young I didn’t know any better. I always look back on it with a lot of dread and disappointment in myself, but i still believe that the two ISmemrs had influenced their audience and its not our fault because we couldn’t notice this at the time. If they were following certain rules for advertising then something needs to change, and if they weren’t then why didn’t anyone intervene with the series? I think this is definitely a problem on ISmem because of the amount of young people who are more likely to be influenced by things like this.

  • What about when shows, (only one that comes to mind is iCarly) where they clearly use an Apple computer but change the logo to something like a pear with a bite out of it?

  • I remember the days of no demonetization, and no influencer adverts. I wish we can go back to those days. ISmem has just been on a downward spiral since 2015.

  • hi tom sctot

    • omg hi im tom scot,

  • Anyone else actually wanna go to asbestos land?

  • You came here to see 11:45

  • "It's time to play "Is this an adver-" *Target ad plays* Me: "Well it says "ad" a the bottom so..."

  • did you or did you not just endorse any and decks Saturday night takeaway without any things!

  • Wow, Disney, of all company’s, is doing better then the BBC. I had a product placement warning, very clearly, before ,any popping returns a few months ago.

  • I tried to watch the vaping part on 0.25x speed and died trying not to laugh

  • when you realize those last 5 seconds were to meant to give a bad reputation to vaping products, in other words, telling us his opinion and the end of the video, just like an influencer, and we barely noticed. That was his point all along.

  • 11:45 Tom Vaping

  • 11:46 rip tom scott

  • phat vape at 11:45

  • "It's time to play: 'Is this an advert?'" [Target ad plays]

  • Not entirely accurate. In the medical and dental communities experts are absolutely required to identify potential conflicts of interest. I've read many health care journal articles and have been to plenty of seminars where speakers have disclosed relationships with private enterprise. You are right, however in saying that this should be much more commonplace.

  • "is this an advert" instantly gets 2 ads

  • 11:45

  • 11:47 😂

  • 11:47

  • 11:45 Iconic.

  • 11:42 (what you came for)

  • It's mostly because most media hates online media to a T, they have demonized the internet just like books, the written word and phones

  • Waited 15 minutes wondering but yes Wayne’s World was there!

  • So this explains the "radio edit" on the song title.

  • Damn, now I want a sandwich and milkshake...

  • honestly i took like 5 seconds to realize gucci gang had a trademark

  • That coughing when you vaped was hilarious

  • 11:47 That's what you're here for. You're welcome. Don't pretend you weren't.

    • Nope, I was here to see Tom Scott talk about adverts for 30 minutes

  • Because we already paid for it?

  • Government giving the same rules to everyone, yea that's never gonna happen. Good luck, though.

  • I really hope that at some point of his life, Tom will be knighted. Maybe that requires social media platforms to become more recognized my the mainstream, but i could see that happening when current generations grow up. If that happens I really can't name a bigger, better or higher quality influencer on this platform right now. If one of his videos like this ends up starting something big which I seriously believe could happen, I'd bank on it even more.

  • This vape contains no nicotine or flavor... just 100% pure THC.

  • ISmemrs and influencers are mainly young people and the gov't has no qualms about restricting young people.

  • do you vape? No I dabble in mouth operating fog machines

  • Fantastic video. Bless you for the 30 Rock bits. By the way, I was eating a delicious snack of M&Ms chocolate candy throughout which I washed down with some Starbucks vanilla Frappuccino bottled beverage. Really satisfied my sweet tooth.

  • 11:34

  • "There is UGGGHHHHGGGTGD* -Tom scott 2021

  • why do brits say advert as shorthand for advertisement instead of simply "ad"

  • 11:46

  • Is this an advert? *Actual Advert plays

  • The Worst sponsorship has got to be raycons i lose a bit of respect for anyone pushing that trash on fans.

  • step one of vaping: Don't talk while vaping

  • 11:46