Brand Safety

by Dylan Blaschak – Digital Media Manager

Brand safety is riskier than you think…

It has long been a mission of CPG (consumer packaged good) brands to remain relevant among consumers due to their high consumption/usage rates. Common CPG products are food items, clothing items, and many perishables that are consumed or used daily. This means advertising constantly, and often times overwhelmingly, due to intense competition in their respective categories (i.e. Nike and Adidas).

Every brand, CPG or not, has values and mission statements that their consumers align with and thus create their brand identity, which many companies strive to protect. These brands generally have massive annual advertising budgets that encompass traditional and non traditional media outlets, most commonly television as many CPG brands buy ad space nationally due to their need to reach large audiences.

However, as digital marketing becomes a larger part of many advertising campaigns each brand must be cautious of how it is positioned online. Brand safety is a term commonly used to describe the precautions advertisers take to ensure that their likeness (identity) is not used in a negative context as viewed by the public.

Recently, a major CPG brand, Kellog, is in the national spotlight for how the brand handled pulling ads from the popular news website, Breitbart. Kellog stated that the content posted by the news site did not align with their values and thus sparked a public controversy. The news organization did not take kindly to this action by one if its advertisers and incited a boycott against the brands products.

Many brands and marketers use third party advertising services such as Google AdSense or AppNexus to buy remnant inventory on websites instead of paying the websites directly. This becomes risky in some situations because the ads are served based upon the consumers’ online journey, which may lead to situations where a brand’s ad appears on a website unintentionally. There are restrictions and specifications that can be implemented to avoid these scenarios that primarily pertain to pornographic, racially insensitive, or discriminatory content; but every brand has different interpretations of what it takes to protect their respective brand in the digital landscape.

One way for a brand to avoid the situation that Kellog found itself in is to work very closely with your advertising team (either internal, agency/vendor or both) to identify a network of websites that not only attract your ideal audience, but that also reflect the brands mission and values. When implementing digital marketing services such as Website Remarketing the advertiser loses a degree of control once the tracking mechanism takes effect and begins delivering ads to the user. The advertiser can identify a list of websites to avoid, but because the Internet is such a vast realm of information and networks it is impossible to maintain 100% brand integrity.

For more information about digital marketing, brand safety or advertising in general, please reach out to us! We are happy to answer your questions, or have an open discussion about trending advertising topics.

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Published: January 18, 2017