Advertising Week in New York City recently took place, and the Digiday headline on September 25 was right on cue for the main topic of the week: “Advertising Week briefing: trust takes a front row seat.”
Think about all we’ve seen, read, and heard in just a few months that has shaken the confidence of media agency executives or CMOs trying to protect and nurture the brands they are entrusted to grow and build.
Here’s a sample of what many brands had to cope with after their customers were exposed to their brand being associated with unsafe content or publishers. Keep in mind this has just been in 2017 alone:
- Google lost multiple Fortune 500 advertisers after brands found out their ads were running against racist content.
- In April, Facebook came under scrutiny after brands were associated with the live-streaming of a murder on Facebook Live. This shows the risk brands are facing when content is user-initiated.
- Facebook got caught overstating its audience as well as its overall video traffic. This May article from Marketing Land is particularly telling.
- Brands were associated with polarising political content in the wake of the Charlottesville events. Fox News ended up being blacklisted by many mainstream brands.
- There is a daily flow of information now coming to light regarding Russian involvement as it relates to fake news and usage of troll farms to create and promote fake content and a dubious agenda.
In January 2017, the CMO of Procter & Gamble told the digital ad industry to clean up and grow up — the message couldn’t have been clearer — as big brands like P&G and their agencies would no longer tolerate fraudulent traffic or a less-than-desirable environment from their digital media partners.
Digital revenue from video is at an all-time high and fast becoming a significant revenue stream for newspaper dot-coms. However, if advertisers have concerns about being positioned against unsavoury content, they are quick to scrub their whitelists. And while the earlier concerns of brand safety this year dealt with more blatant content (such as terrorism, violence, and drugs), advertisers are now paying attention to social and political climates as well.
INMA members all produce a lot of very safe content for brands and have long-standing reputable journalistic brands. It’s time for these brands to be more assertive about the quality of the environment and, most importantly, the capabilities to guarantee 100% to all brands that their content will be aligned with the content of their choice.
Most INMA members produce content that is 100% safe. Think about your business, travel, or sports section. There are ways to create a very appealing offer to guarantee a brand like P&G is able to reach its target audience in the safest way possible.
Public opinion is fickle. For both publishers and advertisers to roll the dice on their revenue stream by offering content that, depending on shifting attitudes, could be deemed offensive without notice is a risky venture. However, there are troves of content available that will not only remain safe for brands, but attract and build audiences.