Difficulties in maintaining a brand’s reputation when it is advertised online has grown in lockstep with the explosion of digital media. Issues are wide ranging and include, but are not limited to:

  • Contextual misalignment between a page’s content and the ad that is being served on that page. For example, a funeral home shouldn’t advertise next to birth announcements.
  • Ads being placed next to ‘fake news’ or extremist content. The implication is a brand inadvertently funding a malicious or fraudulent content-maker or site, such as a terrorist organization.
  • Other harmful content may range from political messaging to adult content. Every brand should have its own unique list of content that is considered harmful if associated with their brand.
  • Bot traffic, which is a complex issue of its own, can also be a brand safety issue when ads are placed on low-value sites chiefly due to a lack of poor planning and oversight with programmatic ad placement.

Brand safety will continue to be an ongoing issue and the ACA strives to support its members in protecting their brands’ reputations. We have addressed issues with platforms where brand safety has been at risk on behalf of individual members and our membership at large. In addition, there are several resources available for members on our site, below.

The ACA also supports the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), which exists to create a more sustainable and responsible digital environment that protects consumers, the media industry, and society as a result. GARM is a first-of-its-kind industry-wide, but advertiser centric community of global brands, media agencies, media owners and platforms, and industry bodies.

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Related Resources

(2020) MRC Brand Safety Reference Guide members only
(2020) Brand Safety in Online Advertising : Technical Guidelines, Industry Response and Training (IAB Canada)
(2019) Global Media Charter members only
(2017) The Marketer’s Guide To Digital Media Buying And Auditing members only

Member Alerts

(August 2019) A Guide To Algorithms and Discrimination
(April 2019) Recommended Actions in Response to Recent Brand Safety Issues
(February 2019) Advertising on Youtube

Related Articles

(January 8, 2021) The attempted coup at the Capitol needs to be brands’ wake-up call about funding online disinformation
(November 13, 2019) Save Digital Advertising, Save the World? #TogetherWeCAN #Outvertising