How To Keep Brands Safe In An Online World (UM Global CEO Daryl Lee)

April 18, 2017 | Share this article

Marc Pritchard made an important call to arms recently with his challenge to digital advertising to clean up its act. His charge, that we have embraced all the benefits of digital advertising without really addressing the downsides, requires every serious player in the industry to respond.

The issue is not just that digital advertising needs to heed the same standards as its more established siblings. The deeper issue is that the digital advertising model is increasingly audience-driven — we buy custom audiences either directly or through automated exchanges, without making a distinction about where those audiences are found.

As we shift to a media model that is purely audience-driven, and where editorial context is not considered, we risk placing brands in environments where they can come to serious harm.

The most glaring example of this harm was the discovery by the Jaguar marketing clients in the UK that their ads were running next to ISIS recruitment videos on YouTube. This has led to Jaguar suspending its entire digital advertising budget for a day. A recent Times of London investigation found that many clients in the UK have their brands in unsafe places, from a brand association perspective.

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