- Bank of America has added a brand safety officer role to help the company “clean up house” and address issues of ads appearing next to inappropriate content, ad fraud and transparency, The Drum reports. The new hire was not named.
- Lou Paskalis, the bank’s SVP and enterprise media executive, made the announcement at the CMO Summit at Mobile World Congress, saying that the new brand safety officer will be focused on protecting the brand and customers and making sure the brand gets what it pays for out of its more than $1 billion ad spend. Paskalis also noted that the creation of the new role was a response to concerns raised by the company's CFO following a spate of brand safety issues over the past year and the fear that management of the brand's advertising investments could be removed from the marketing department as a result.
- The bank is also planning to hire a “cultural anthropologist” so that the company doesn’t have to rely on Google and Facebook to provide data on consumer behavior.
As the latest company to address brand safety, Bank of America is also suggesting that marketers should do more to hold digital platforms accountable. This echoes recent comments by Unilever CMO Keith Weed encouraging deeper collaboration and stronger partnerships with digital platforms and for marketers to focus on the issues in a broader cultural sense, rather than focusing inward on how their individual businesses are affected. Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, has called for more transparency and better quality content to ensure a cleaner digital ecosystem.
Brand safety is on the minds of most marketers, as 75% report being exposed to brand safety issues and 70% say they take brand safety seriously, per research by GumGum and Custom, Digiday’s content creative agency. However, unlike Bank of America, only 26% have taken action on the issue, and 15% haven’t adjusted their strategies at all. Most publishers and marketers believe direct relationships with digital platforms are the best way to ensure that their ads are placed in the right places.
Even though marketers are encouraged to think globally in their approach to brand safety, Facebook, Google and other platforms are also making attempts to do more to regain the trust of consumers and advertisers. Google has announced tougher requirements for YouTube channels to be eligible for advertisements and plans to better screen premium videos. Facebook has announced several News Feed algorithm changes that will prioritize user-generated content over content created by publishers and marketers.
Bank of America’s new brand safety officer position also highlights the changing role of the CMO and marketing team, which traditionally has been responsible for branding, marketing and generating leads. Now, in-house marketers have to better understand consumers’ needs across multiple channels and touch points. Corporations are increasingly eliminating the traditional CMO role in favor of more defined titles, such as brand officer or chief media officer to better reflect their needs and changing consumer behaviors. Brands are also bringing more marketing functions in house. P&G plans to drop about half of the agencies that it works with in 2018 in an effort to save money and have better control over marketing strategies.