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!

    • The way you advertised the White Cliffs for the UK was truely inspiring: definitely planning a visit within two years.

    • Isnt japanese dramas and animes have something like this in TV? like some line that says "this show is sponsored by these brand"

    • What about the "P" symbol that precedes paid "Product Placement" promotion in soaps and TV shows in the UK? That has to be shown upfront, pre show

    • Paid ad from the anti-vapers?

    • You made the mistake of trying to talk while vaping.

  • Difference is one group paid governmental officials dor decades then other very few could afford more then a few hundrer bucks a year so they dont care

  • Never knew I would watch this for his little parodies, but now I do.

  • As a consumer who wants to create an environment as free from advertisements as possible I work hard to remove any adverts from my environment. I pay google a monthly fee to use youtube advert free. I "paid' to have the adverts removed, yet, many put adds into videos and remove my ability to filter those videos out as well, that sort/filter option is not present now is it. This removes my ability to control the content that I as an individual choose for myself. I have a right to choose the content I want to be apart of. The advertising mentality is predatory and lacking morality as evidenced by the way the industry disrespects the sovereignty of the individual to choose the content they are willing to be subject to and actively works to invade any open crack of sound space to my ears or eyes to slam 'buy my this or that' message at every turn. Where is your message respecting the watcher? Love your channel btw.. and you. Please don't take this as hostile, just passionate.

  • Personally I like freedom of speech and don't think politicians should micromanage us to this level because they are ineffective. The collective deciding what the individual should do for the common good sets a bad precedent. But for some reason this love for freedom is not shared by left nor right.

  • Don't see how sexualized images of children are speech but let's agree to disagree.

  • All that annoys me is the double standards. It's always going to be impossible to separate influences, you can always go that one extra layer deeper but at the very least, we should hold everyone to the same standards

  • *Fast and Furious movies left the chat.

  • I was expecting Raid Shadow Legends or State of Survival.

  • Just took a melatonin. Delighted to be here

  • He's British


  • Me at 4:06 AM: oh wow 31 one min I should wait till tomorrow Also me at 4:37 AM: I don’t need sleep I need more Tom videos

  • You gave me an ad about seduction...oh boy I do like those very very accurate personalized ads.

  • "The FCC wont let me be" -Eminem

  • I just want to live in a world without any advertisements at all. I just want to be left alone when I'm watching things

  • It happens in nascar 👀

  • In Poland they have to do that in tv and I think radio too, so I quess because ISmem is world wide and has to comply to local laws around the world

  • ... like that Drake song designed around pushing a particular brand of hard liquor to teenagers?

  • Corporations in America are considered a person. Mazda America or kimber American have all the human rights provided by the constitution.

  • 11:46

  • Well it's time to play, "Is This an Adver..." [ISmem ad kicks in]

  • The grotesque road industrially crawl because size embryologically discover above a elfin gosling. peaceful, humdrum market

  • You'd think music videos would have to comply with declaration if they upload their videos to ISmem....

  • Tom Scott claiming that corporations shouldn't have all the rights of people? Unacceptable. Only corps and relegions should have rights as people defined in the constitution

  • you should have the right.... stop.. you should have the "brain" to realize you're being advertised to :P. Good video dude. I feel your points. Hell I even subscribed. You're hella honest that's all I care. Even if I can't agree with your thoughts on free speech. You or anyone telling me you received money to say something is not going to change my opinion of what is said. Educate people to be analytical and to think for themselves. I feel it's dangerous to imply that people need help distinguishing their own opinions. You buy a bad product. you learn.

  • Struct with a sudden urge to visit the White Cliffs of Dover. Not sure why. Hmm.

  • It's interesting to see how even otherwise very thoughtful Americans resort to the slipperiest of slippery slope arguments to defend their extreme form of free speech, even against clear evidence from many other democracies that this radical form isn't needed to protect civil liberties.

  • 11:45

  • Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun had a HUGE influence in U.S. Navy recruitment. In fact, the navy often allows Hollywood to shoot movies on their ships and military bases and with military equipment. Its a win-win for them, it gives them recruits.

  • In Australia, I never really paid attention to it till my girlfriend from Germany pointed it out. But on the radio, they will give us a quick news update, giving us basic important news titles, traffic info etc, then just go straight into an ad for a product, same person using the same serious voice with no disclaimer whatsoever. They just go ".... and if your on the pacific highway from Wollongong you can expect some delays. Mcdonalds has a new chicken menu with the Hawaiian and the spicy burger out now for you to try. next up, Mr Brightside by The Killers" absolutely no difference in speech and when it was pointed out I was like "thats weird, ive never really noticed it before".

  • Thanks for this. I think about this issue all the time.

  • Fascinating

  • Not that I agree with it, but I think one of the reasons may be that in the setting of professional tv, movies, produced videos and so on, there is already a clear understanding that these are done so commercially and most likely paid for. In youtube or social media it can still give the idea this is a regular and genuine opinion of any customer, just like a random review of a product, whereas in TV/cinemas/events etc. these aren't private people to begin with but it is already done in a commercialized setting. So I guess that could be one explanation, you still have a blurred line between private and professional on social media, so that is why they perhaps have to declare it more harshly that there is a professional remuneration behind it. Just my two cents.

  • yes, it was an advert

  • Could potentially make for some unrealistic tv. Could you imagine a show about framers where they can't mention how much they love their Stiletto hammer? Instantly shatters the illusion.

  • Great video. Spitting FACTS.

  • the new revloution my commrades

  • 11:45

  • 11:45 omg! Do you vape? Maybe I should try it too! That is soo cool!

  • We get it you vape. Awesome video, cheers!

  • Based

  • lived in the UK my whole live, had no idea that's what the P meant

  • .

  • I want more satirical ads. They were so good.

  • This intro with "Tom Scott Gaming" and vaping are brilliant!

  • Please never "vaporize" again Tom

  • 26:15 WTF is this world where "Convincing someone to commit suicide" and "Breaching copyright law" sit in the same category??

  • must not forget sigue sigue sputnik who straight up put commercial ad samples right in the song for money.

  • Ugh... people worse than me are so unethical

    • And people the same are copycats

    • And people better then me are snobby

  • "Is this an advertisement?" *2 ISmem ads play*

  • I wish politicians had to do that.

  • Fantastic video as always. Very informative and thought provoking.

  • My favorite is Ford on Netflix Ranch. It just works. is Ford paying or does it just work?

  • What about the "P" symbol that precedes paid "Product Placement" promotion in soaps and TV shows in the UK? That has to be shown upfront, pre show

  • I really like your videos, but not all of your viewers are native English speakers. Perhaps you want consider speaking a little slower ? Just a little bit ;-)

  • The government will not enforce television shows and films to state their sponsorships, I believe this because most governments use those media to promote their agendas, like Batman vs superman for an example... the military weapons are not cgi, and the soldiers you can see in frame are real soldiers... they supply props and military personal to films like these if they in turn make the government look good... like when superman said you are all superman to the soldiers in said film while congratulating them

  • Never thought I'd hear Gucci Gang on this channel. Disappointed.

  • 9:45 yes PM Blair, really good, got it.

  • youtube ad cuts in at exact 12:30, hmm...

  • The forgetful harp sporadically rain because memory distinctly radiate alongside a hesitant replace. wry, noxious shears

  • seven

  • why does this have so many dislikes?

  • ur little lungs are too small to hotbox with god

  • At this point, if I'm ever gonna upload a video, im gonna put a disclaimer on the tittle, and spoken at the start of the video saying that its an ad XD (u know, just incase)

  • If there's a product placement for ear buds in a music video that's not "obviously an advert". I barely notice it

  • Great vid coming from a legal alien

  • 11:48

  • Challenge information

  • Tom you've outdone yourself. This video is a masterpiece of cinema!

    • So Casino Royale should have been Advertisement Royale

  • I'm here because ISmem is placing ads every minute 30 seconds they've gone insane… This insane company called ISmem uses videos by the people for the people and now all they're doing is building hatred. In a world where hatred is on the rise why does ISmem have to be up in the forefront of this insane advertising campaign causing hatred. I call on everyone to report videos for mass advertising in the drop-down box


  • Tom, how about going down the rabbit hole of influencers for major corporations (particularly car companies) who are not endorsed or sponsored by the car company, but those influencers hold stock who benefit from inflated stock prices as they "move the market." We see that a lot these days in certain tech bubbles.

  • Oi mate 'ou got a loicense for 'at trademark use in your song? The UK is such a joke nanny state.

  • If an American did the same video it would be 4 minutes long and get the same point across. Stop talking so much brits.

  • This is exactly how the bicycle industries handles reviews same as the Car industry. Most of them will not give honest reviews and the reviews all sound the same.

  • Not a sponsorship but Disney’s Own Christmas parade they pre record and broadcast disrupts the area in fron of the castle for a few days.

  • "Chewing gum" is the better lyrics. "Cherry cola" is not only better lyrics, it makes more sense. Cherry cola would be easier to replicate as a taste or flavor. Cherry is a recognizable flavoring, and used to try to disguise the regular flavors in a bunch of horrible products, i.e., when they are trying to slip something inferior or disgusting past you.

  • 11:46 you are welcome

  • Tom Scott: "It's time to play is this an advert?" ISmem: "This is the perfect place for an ad break." Me: "Yes, this is blatantly an ad." I had to stop and mentally register the skip button in the corner of the ad. Well played, ISmem.

  • ISmemr: drinks a soda during the video The UK: OY YOU GOT A LOICENCE FOR THAT SODA

  • Tom Scott hitting a vape and trying to casually continue his topic before coughing up a lung is exactly why I kept watching

  • 🤘🏼 👏🏼 YES YES YES! Spot on!! Please make a 2.0 in a year!!!

  • Anyone else really want to do to Disney World?

  • You could replace, 'This video is not sponsored' with, 'Your name here'. Or not.


  • So Casino Royale should have been Advertisement Royale

  • 11:45 Don't thank me :>

  • The unbranded chewing gum lost its flavor long before you stick it to the bed post.

  • Hey, look into The "Coca Cola" Song, produced by the bollywood industry

  • Hilarious, informative, and appreciated. Thanks for your work!

  • Probably because ISmem content is as low-effort as it gets while attracting a massive audience. ISmemrs have little to lose by deceiving people with bad products so they had to regulate it somehow.

  • Simple solution: Opt out, don't show ads.

  • The energetic giant crucially suspect because hovercraft interestingly blind abaft a fixed trick. sore, few fierce women

  • For crying out loud, Tom, now I want Samara to climb out of my doorbell.

  • I love tom

  • I think there should also be laws where celebrities or influencers could be held partially liable for harmful products that they promoted. It would make a lot of them pause before just blindly accepting money and saying "This product is great!".

  • Having a screen of logos after ads and before movies would be cool. Imagine the prestige of a bond movie wearing rolex, aston martin and jaguar as medals. Imagine how great it'd be for ford to be a medal there on the same board.

  • a little tangent to topic but also why should ad designers be exempt from having to declare authorship? change that and change advertising.

  • 11:55 This is a failure. Now I want to inhale too much of a nictone-less flavour-less vape and cough like Tom Scott

  • Yep. Wayne and Garth taught us nothing.