ANA CEO Statement on YouTube Ad Controversy

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Following is a statement issued by Bob Liodice in response to press inquiries about marketers who have recently suspended advertising on Google’s YouTube website.

There is no more important asset for a marketer than the brand. Brands are the basis for marketers’ relationships with consumers and customers. Brand value, brand equity and brand loyalty are all treasured assets that we, as marketers, are entrusted to build, nurture, grow and strengthen. That is our essential role. Anything that disrupts, disturbs or threatens consumer and customer relationships – relationships based on trust and positive experiences – should be avoided at all costs.

In the interest of safeguarding brand assets, several ANA members have suspended advertising on Google websites, including YouTube, after some ads were placed near objectionable content including hate speech and terrorist-oriented websites. Their concerns for their brands well-being is rational, appropriate and warranted. ANA strongly believes that brand safety is of paramount importance to our members. No marketer should ever place its brand at risk. All agency and media partners should recognize that — above all other objectives — protecting the brand should stand head and shoulders above everything else.

We join the ecosystem in calling upon all digital advertising platforms to take the necessary steps to guarantee the safety and reputations of our brands. Brands choose those platforms to work hard for them to achieve all of their business and brand building objectives. But the most important of those priorities is “to do no harm.”

We view brand safety issues as an unfortunate example of the many challenges that exist throughout the digital media supply chain. The current crisis is representative of the issues that ANA – and others — have raised with respect to fraud and risk, reduced transparency, suboptimum measurement and nebulous productivity. A dearth of trust and a need for verification lie at the heart of these problems. 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.

Media Contact:

John Wolfe

ANA

Director of Communications

Office: 212.455.8011

Email: jwolfe AT ana.net