A skippable in-stream ad on YouTube for electronic music artist Sickotoy’s single, titled “2 High 2 Care”, seen on 19 October 2022, during the video “Funny Scary Dino Family Song | Baby Dino Dodododo Song + More Nursery Rhymes & Kids Song |Baby Songs” on the Baby Toonz Kids TV channel. The ad featured an animated silhouette of a man walking against a backdrop of a rocky landscape and a purple sky.
The opening lyrics stated, “I’m too fucking high to care” and were repeated throughout the ad. Further lyrics included, “All night taking shots”, “That girl just gave me drugs” and “99 bitches all wanna fuck”. The lyrics were also displayed in large text during the video.
The complainant, who understood that the ad contained explicit language and referred to drug and alcohol use, challenged whether the ad was irresponsibly placed because it was seen during a video which was of appeal to children.
Global Records confirmed that the ad was not intended to be seen by those younger than 18 years of age. They said that they had built a custom targeting profile and that they had selected 18 as the minimum age of the user to whom the ad would be served.
They further detailed the interest-based targeting measures they had applied to the ad. The ad would be served to those who: (i) had interacted with the Sickotoy YouTube channel previously; (ii) were watching YouTube videos related to Electronic Dance Music (EDM); (iii) had searched for YouTube videos related to EDM and EDM artists; (iv) had previously interacted with similar channels to those included within the Global Records portfolio; or (v) had previously watched EDM YouTube videos. They provided us with screenshots of the five targeting criteria which also demonstrated that the “Parental Status” of each target profile had been listed as “all”.
Global Records said that they understood the implications of their ad strategy and they made their best effort to deliver the ads to the target demographic. They highlighted that it was the first time that they had received a complaint of that nature and would continue to investigate the issue.
We understood that the ad had been shown on the Baby Toonz Kids TV channel. The content for this channel included songs and nursery rhymes and was predominantly aimed at young children. In light of the ad’s references to alcohol and controlled substances and the use of explicit and derogatory language, we considered that the ad should have been appropriately targeted to avoid the risk of children seeing it. However, we acknowledged that the ad may have been appropriate to show before very limited content on YouTube; namely, other music videos of that genre in which similar language had been used.
We noted the targeting parameters placed by Global Records. We understood that they did not apply content label or category exclusions for YouTube videos which would likely appeal to children or family audiences. We therefore considered that the targeting criteria did not account for logged-in users who were over the age of 18 and fulfilled one or more criteria within their targeting profile but subsequently viewed material of particular appeal to children.
Because the ad appeared during a video of particular appeal to children, we considered the targeting criteria used by Global Records had proved insufficient and concluded that it had been inappropriately targeted.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Social Responsibility).
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Global Records SRL to ensure that 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.