A pre-roll ad on YouTube, seen on 5 September 2022, for Wild deodorant, featured a woman sitting up in bed. She seemed to be masturbating under the bedcovers while watching a computer screen. She was interrupted by a talking polar bear which then
joined her in bed.
A complainant, whose ten-year-old son saw the ad, challenged whether it had been irresponsibly targeted because it was seen before Minecraft videos which were likely to appeal to children.
Wild Cosmetics Ltd said they had taken care to avoid the ad being shown to a younger audience. They said they targeted their YouTube ads based on users' interests, for example health and beauty, and it was likely that someone deemed a
prospective customer had been logged into the YouTube account at the time the ad was shown. They said they did not choose with which videos their ads were shown; this was controlled by algorithm. They said they did not advertise on channels that were
clearly aimed at children and would add this channel to their list of exclusions.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
We understood from the complainant that the ad had been shown on the DanTDM channel.
The content for this channel included commentary videos about Minecraft, Roblox and Pokemon and was largely, although not exclusively, aimed at children and showed content that was likely to appeal to children. In light of the ad's reference to
masturbation we considered that the ad should have been appropriately targeted to avoid the risk of children seeing it.
We noted the advertiser had targeted the ads based on the interests of potential customers and had excluded
some channels. However, those exclusions had proved insufficient to prevent the ad from being seen around videos on DanTDM channel, before a Minecraft video. Because the ad appeared before a video likely to appeal to children, we concluded that it had
been inappropriately targeted.
We concluded that the ad had been irresponsibly targeted.
We told Wild Cosmetics Ltd to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted and that ads that were unsuitable for
viewing by children did not appear in media that was likely to appeal to children.