In a statement, Sunlight Entertainment, the production company for Ryan’s World, said the channel “deeply cares about the well-being of our viewers and their health and safety is a top priority for us. As such, we strictly follow all service terms for platforms as well as all guidelines set forth in the FTC and laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. ”
The statement said Ryan’s World welcomed the results of the new survey and added: “As we continue to develop our content, we look forward to ways we can work together in the future for the benefit of our audience’s health and safety.”
Other popular children’s channels on YouTube show the influence of children who do taste tests with Oreo cookies, Pop Tarts and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or sit in toy cars and order fast food at passages to Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and other chains. . “This is basically a dream for advertisers,” said Dr. Bragg. “These kids are celebrities, and we know from other rigorous studies that younger kids prefer celebrity-approved products.”
To document the extent of the phenomenon, Dr. identified Bragg and her colleagues identified five of the best child influencers on YouTube, including Ryan, and analyzed 418 of their most popular videos. They found that food or beverages were shown in these videos 271 times, and 90 percent of them were “unhealthy branded products.” Some of the brands that were most frequently featured were McDonald’s, Hershey’s, Skittles, Oreo, Coca-Cola, Kinder and Dairy Queen. The videos with junk food are in total more than a billion times.
The researchers could not always tell which products the influencers were paid to promote, partly because sponsorships are not always clearly revealed. The Federal Trade Commission has said influencers must “clearly and unequivocally” disclose their financial relationship to brands whose products they support on social media. But critics say the policy is rarely enforced and that influential people often ignore it.
Last year, several senators called on the FTC to investigate Ryan’s World and accused the channel of running commercials for Carl’s Jr. without revealing that they were ads. The Council of Better Business Bureaus, an industrial regulatory group, also found that Ryan’s World contained sponsored content from advertisers without proper publication. And a year ago, watchdog group Truth in Advertising filed a complaint with the FTC, accusing the channel of deceiving children through “sponsored videos that often have the appearance of organic content.”