Amobee and Universal McCann are spurring an initiative to buy digital ad space to fill units with public service announcements around coronavirus.

The companies have come together to serve public service announcements as publishers are being hit by rampant keyword blocking around the virus and other terms associated with it.

“The group of us are coming together to make PSAs available, and we’re are also working out the best ways to … par back some of the [brand safety] controls while still protecting advertisers, particularly in a highly unusual situation,” Joshua Lowcock, chief digital and global brand safety officer at UM told Adweek. “But the absolute goal right now is to ensure that we’re investing in news and supporting news organizations, because we have a responsibility to do that.”

Other companies involved include IAS and DoubleVerify. Conversations are being held with several publishers to include media owners in the initiative, according to a UM spokesperson.

The initiative kicked off Friday and quickly picked up steam, said Amobee CSO Philip Smolin, who added that the companies involved are allocating budget to buy ad space for the purpose of serving PSAs.

Amobee and UM are creating the ads in-house. PSAs for the Centers for Disease and Control have already been placed, with PSAs for the World Health Organization soon to follow.

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