Popular YouTuber PewDiePie recently found himself involved in a spot of federal beef between the FTC and Warner Bros over a ‘deceptive’ marketing campaign for Shadow of Mordor.
The YouTube sensation was one of a number of vloggers that Warner Bros paid to positively promote their Lord of The Rings action game, but the FTC claims that neither Warner Bros nor the YouTubers in question properly disclosed this info.
PewDiePie (AKA Felix Kjellberg) has now hit back, lamenting the fact that he – as the biggest name involved – was dragged into the mess, and that he had in fact properly disclosed the sponsorship all along.
A lot of YouTubers were involved in this sponsorship. but since my name is as the biggest YouTuber, my name is the only one that pops up.
His Shadow of Mordor video alone managed around 3.7 million views of the alleged 5.5 million combined views from every sponsored video.
Fellow YouTuber John ‘Total Biscuit’ Bain came forward to back him up on Twitter.
Pewdiepie is being brought up for clicks. He actually did disclose. Not well, but he did. Others didn't at all.
— John Bain (@Totalbiscuit) July 12, 2016
Kjellberg argues that WB Games is the one liable for the deceptive marketing, as he did actually include a disclosure in the description of his video back in 2014 – one year before FTC guidelines made it the law to have to do such a thing.
And to be fair, it is WB that’s in trouble with the FTC – not Kjellberg. However, the FTC has said that any disclosures made came within the video’s description box where they were not immediately recognisable is enough to be deceptive under its standards.
But once again, this was all in 2014 before such guidelines even existed, and Kjellberg pointed out that he always mentions sponsorship deals or promotions at the start of every video, and has done ever since it’s been a legal requirement.
You can watch the video in which he defends himself and hits out at the media below.
Kjellberg ends the video by pointing out that he’s merely a celebrity caught up in something of a shit storm. Whether or not you think what he did was wrong, it isn’t him the FTC took issue – that’s worth something.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.