ANA Asks Digital Players for Advertising Safeguards

Move follows marketers pulling dollars from YouTube

The Association of National Advertisers called on Google’s YouTube and other digital platforms to create stronger safeguards to protect brands from having their advertising run with questionable content.

The move comes as an increasing number of advertisers have pulled ad dollars from YouTube after revelations that ads for some major brands are running adjacent to content from hate groups online.

Related: SMI Says TV Ad Spending Rose 0.4% in February

“We join the ecosystem in calling upon all digital advertising platforms to take the necessary steps to guarantee the safety and reputations of our brands. Brands choose those platforms to work hard for them to achieve all of their business and brand building objectives. But the most important of those priorities is ‘to do no harm,’” said Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA.

“We view brand safety issues as an unfortunate example of the many challenges that exist throughout the digital media supply chain. The current crisis is representative of the issues that ANA—and others—have raised with respect to fraud and risk, reduced transparency, suboptimum measurement and nebulous productivity,” Liodice said.

Digital advertising has also been bedeviled by measurement issues that have eroded advertiser trust in the audiences they’re getting when the buy ads online.

It was unclear how much this situation would help TV advertising. Analyst Michael Nathanson said that TV networks could get a modest boost from advertisers fleeing digital for the relative safety of national TV.

Below is the entire statement by the ANA.

There is no more important asset for a marketer than the brand. Brands are the basis for marketers’ relationships with consumers and customers. Brand value, brand equity and brand loyalty are all treasured assets that we, as marketers, are entrusted to build, nurture, grow and strengthen. That is our essential role. Anything that disrupts, disturbs or threatens consumer and customer relationships – relationships based on trust and positive experiences - should be avoided at all costs. 

In the interest of safeguarding brand assets, several ANA members have suspended advertising on Google websites, including YouTube, after some ads were placed near objectionable content including hate speech and terrorist-oriented websites. Their concerns for their brands well-being is rational, appropriate and warranted. ANA strongly believes that brand safety is of paramount importance to our members. No marketer should ever place its brand at risk. All agency and media partners should recognize that -- above all other objectives -- protecting the brand should stand head and shoulders above everything else.

We join the ecosystem in calling upon all digital advertising platforms to take the necessary steps to guarantee the safety and reputations of our brands. Brands choose those platforms to work hard for them to achieve all of their business and brand building objectives. But the most important of those priorities is “to do no harm.”

We view brand safety issues as an unfortunate example of the many challenges that exist throughout the digital media supply chain.  The current crisis is representative of the issues that ANA – and others -- have raised with respect to fraud and risk, reduced transparency, suboptimum measurement and nebulous productivity.  A dearth of trust and a need for verification lie at the heart of these problems. We urge our members, their agencies and their media partners to work energetically to rectify these concerns and improve the quality of the digital media supply chain.

(Photo via FamZoo Staff's FlickrImage taken on May 25, 2016 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)