The Association of National Advertisers has come out strongly in favor of the many companies who are suspending advertising with Google websites after brand messages were placed near objectionable content.
Saying there was “no more important asset for a marketer” than its brand, ANA CEO Bob Liodice issued a statement addressing the trust between marketers and their consumers, and that anything threatening that relationship “should be avoided at all costs.”
“No marketer should ever place its brand at risk,” Liodice said in a statement. “All agency and media partners should recognize that — above all other objectives — protecting the brand should stand head and shoulders above everything else.”
Several brands — including AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and Verizon — have announced their intentions to pull all non-search advertising on YouTube and other Google properties over concerns their ads might appear adjacent to offensive material. The concerns came after The Times of London uncovered many advertisers’ content was running with videos that promoted extremism, including terrorism, Holocaust deniers and rape apologists. The revelations have caused at least one analyst to downgrade Google’s stock and has put Google executives in the position of publicly apologizing to brands and promising to enact safeguards.
Liodice called upon “all digital advertising platforms” to work to guarantee the safety and reputations of their advertisers. He said the current “crisis” underscores ANA’s repeated concerns about transparency, measurement and fraud in digital advertising. “A dearth of trust and a need for verification lie at the heart of these problems,” Liodice said in the statement. “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.”