NEWS29 October 2018

Brands hit by ads appearing near negative content

News North America

US – Non-brand safe adverts are often viewed as an intentional endorsement by the brands, according to a study trying to quantify the impact of negative ad placement.

Brand safety_crop

The study – The Brand Safety Effect – by Cheq, IPG Mediabrand’s innovation unit Magna and its media futures advisory arm IPG Media Lab, and BMW found that ads that appear near negative content result in a 2.8x reduction in people’s intent to associate with these brands.

More than 2,000 consumers were surveyed on their reactions to ads that appeared alongside three different types of ‘negative’ content: generally unsafe content (i.e., a school shooting); brand-averse content (i.e., an airline ad next to an article about an airline forcibly removing a passenger); vertical-averse content (i.e., a soda ad in front of content about diabetes).

One of the main findings was that many consumers view brand unsafe ad placements as an intentional endorsement of the negative content. And when consumers assume every ad placement is intentional, it makes them 2.8x less willing to associate with a brand when its ads are displayed in unsafe environments. 

Two-thirds of consumers who indicated high purchase intent for a specific brand were less likely to buy that brand after being exposed to an ad from the same company appearing alongside unsafe content.

Joshua Lowcock, global brand safety officer at UM Worldwide, part of IPG Mediabrands, said: “Our joint research with Cheq shows that most consumers believe there are no mistakes in advertising, meaning that if an ad runs next to violent and/or offensive content, for example, they assume the brand deliberately placed it there and is in some way endorsing the content.

“Brands need to be aware that blindly following a customer or chasing media price efficiency can have devastating effects on the long-term health of their brands.”