News & Opinion

How do we ensure brands don’t avoid news?

Writing for The Drum, agenda21’s Leena Vara-Patel discusses the need to work together to make sure brands aren’t too afraid of appearing next to news.

agenda21's director of technology and ad operations talked about how negative headlines around brand safety and the impact it can have on brands has resulted in advertisers being more cautious over the content they appear next to.

But how does this impact journalism? Free press allows journalists to investigate and report on the difficult topics in society, so we need to be careful to ensure that the long term impact of brand safety on journalism doesn’t create a very different view of the world – one that is neither true nor lives up to the role journalism plays.

Vara-Patel acknowledged that a good balance between creating a brand safe environment and ensuring there is both scale and performance is not an easy task. But being overly strict on brand safety really limits the impact ads can have on audiences, resulting in reduced performance for publishers, advertises and agencies. 

The remedy?

Vara-Patel goes on to discuss the importance of education and collaboration and how “more joint agency and publisher forums” should be put in place to discuss these matters. Education also needs to come from publishers who should be advising their agencies on trying to find the best solutions for clients. 

In addition, blacklists need to be continuously updated. No longer should keywords such as “Manchester” and “Ariana Grande” be seen as unsafe in the eyes of brands – in fact quite the opposite, the city of Manchester is gaining a reputation as a "cool second city" at home and abroad and Ariana Grande is making her way back into this week’s top 10 charts. These are missed opportunities that brands could capitalise on!

Source: The Drum

by Hannah Ohm Thomas 14/08/19

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