While it may be tempting for marketers to block coronavirus-related news due to brand safety concerns, media experts believe there may be a better strategy.
All publishers are writing about COVID-19 right now, and consumers are consumed with the content. Many advertisers have historically blocked all news, so where does necessary – yet potentially risky – content around the ongoing pandemic fit in?
Campaign US asked media industry experts to weigh in on the topic.
How should brands and agencies adapt brand safety measures during the coronavirus crisis?
Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital and Global Brand Safety Officer, UM
If there’s an optimistic way to refer to the moment we’re in, it’s “adapting.” Learning how to adapt to the change that has been thrust upon us all. When it comes brand safety, there are three core areas where brands and agencies need to adapt: 1. Messaging; 2. Responsible Investment; and 3. Brand Safety Controls.
Advertisers need to be more self-aware of how and what they say in creative as much as where their ad appears. Advertising creative that is not appropriate to the moment (e.g., displays behaviors inconsistent with social distancing or lacks empathy) carries a brand safety risk. This requires bringing your creative agency into your brand safety conversations.
As the advertising market adapts, advertisers have a responsibility to be more thoughtful on where they invest their dollars and what their ad investment funds. Responsible investment means thinking about the value and impact of the free content your ad dollars support. Advertising’s ability to contribute to social good, providing people free access to reputable quality content, inclusive of news, is critically important during economic uncertainty.
Lastly, Brand Safety Controls, specifically the temptation to avoid terms such as “Coronavirus” and “COVID-19,” must be reviewed. “Coronavirus” and “COVID-19” will be a part of our collective shared discourse for the foreseeable future. Every publisher is writing about this topic; because the impact is so deep and broad, the phrases are unavoidable. Brands can and will need to be part of this content and conversation, so adapt your brand safety controls now.
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