- More brands have announced suspending Google ad campaigns over offensive content, including General Motors, Walmart, PepsiCo and FX Networks according to Ad Age.
- The Association of National Advertisers released a statement last Friday acknowledging that some members had suspended advertising on Google websites, including YouTube, because of ads appearing next to offensive content including hate speech and terrorist-oriented websites.
- "Their concerns for their brands' wellbeing is rational, appropriate and warranted. All agency and media partners should recognize that — above all other objectives — protecting the brand should stand head and shoulders above everything else,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice in the statement.
The issue kicked off two weeks ago when the U.K. government along with a number of prominent U.K. brands and ad holding company Havas Worldwide pulled advertising from Google properties including YouTube, in an unprecedented response to issues with inflammatory digital content that had been simmering. Soon after the first wave of major U.S. advertisers including AT&T and Johnson & Johnson followed suit.
This latest news adds to major advertisers pulling out of Google, at least for now. Google’s parent company Alphabet has acknowledged there are content issues on its sites and its Chairman, Eric Schmidt, said Google is working on the problem but can’t currently guarantee ads won’t appear next to offensive content.
Early analyst reports predicted troubles for Alphabet when brands first started pulling advertising, but thus far early speculations of serious financial repercussions have not played out. Variety reported that RBC Capital Markets analysts see the issue as more a negative headline with minimal near-term impact. Separate reporting from The Wall Street Journal found multiple instances of big brand ads appearing next to offensive YouTube videos.