The Mars challenge – can YouTube regulate its content?

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Will a brave move by confectionary giant, Mars, who have unwrapped plans to cancel a multi-million pound advertising contract with YouTube, be emulated by other UK marketeers?

The company took the decision after Starburst sweets were promoted ahead of a violent video on the video-sharing site.

The film boasted about killing rivals and gang related knife crime and featured a 23-year-old rap star who was brutally murdered last week.

The influential group of brands says advertising their products, many aimed at youngsters, alongside such content breaches their guidelines.   They say until safeguards are put in place they will no longer advertise on the platform, withdrawing their £5 million annual budget.

Other companies, including Dettol and Clearblue, say they are reviewing their advertising spend on the Google-owned website.

Previously, in the US, Pepsi, Walmart and telecom companies AT&T and Verizon, have pulled advertising from YouTube over the same fears.

While the Met Police called on YouTube to remove videos which promote violence and a Tory MP congratulated Mars on the move, industry commentators speculate whether this will enable TV and press to claw back some revenue, with guaranteed content to sit alongside advertisers’ brands.