Media Quality, Social Responsibility, and the Evolution of Brand Safety

Posted by Brand Safety Institute • Aug 11, 2021 6:55:54 PM

In a new white paper, Louis Jones, Brand Safety Officer in Residence, set out to get a pulse on where we as an ecosystem stand on brand safety after the struggles of the last few years.

January 6, 2021 will be etched in our history as a day when democracy nearly failed. It followed a long year of growing awareness of societal injustice and the advent of a pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen in a century. Over a half million deaths after precious time lost to contradicting voices in the White House, Congress, and our news sources. Thousands of peaceful protesters demanding equal justice under the law, and political hijinks trying to repeal the will of the people made for a cavalcade of anguish, hope and determination. Many of us learned to work from home, figured out how to home school, and how to survive detachments from family and loved ones. 2020 and the start of 2021 will reverberate in the minds of many for years to come.

Jones talked with representatives from across the industry to take stock of where marketers, agencies, platforms, and publishers are at this moment in time and what the view is toward a future of better brand safe measures. What he learned, he summarized as such:

Across the board, respondents spoke to the increasing importance of brand safety within their organization: in the methods they use with their partners and in the moral obligation to the audiences they work so hard to engage.

The resulting paper dives deep into the daily practices of the different roles in the digital ad industry to learn how brand safety is done from the ground floor to the board room. Jones examines the evolving facets of brand safety, including how publishers and platforms are working to keep mis/disinformation away from advertisers, who in turn have a responsibility to support responsible outlets; and  how this dual responsibility is handled within the awakening of conscience that is the Black Lives Matter movement.

Download the white paper

In conjunction with the white paper the Brand Safety Institute has produced a checklist to use in improving your daily brand safety practice. Get your copy of "Creating a More Thorough and Effective Brand Safety Plan".

Jones also has had a series of video conversations on these topics. 

Brand Safety Evolves

With Robert Rakowitz, Initiative Lead - The Global Alliance for Responsible Media; Sarah Personette, VP Global Client Solutions - Twitter; and Joshua Lowcock, Global Brand Safety Officer - UM Worldwide. Jones furthers his discussion with industry leaders about how the practice of brand safety demands, and can work to achieve, a healthy media ecosystem that in turn fosters a healthy society.

View the video here.

"A More Consumer Responsible Approach to Brand Safety"
As brand safety matures across the globe, many advertisers and agencies are expanding the concept of brands being more socially aware and pushing for alignment to corporate values.  These values now include diversity & inclusion, algorithmic fairness, data ethics, sustainability, truth, and a balanced approach to sources of (mis/dis)information.  Media buyers are putting a finer point on their market approaches and are discussing how to manage through to achieve a better complement of media “responsibility".  Some have dubbed it "Responsible Investment", while other have focused on "Brand Integrity" or "Brand Assurance".  Hear from the practitioners on why these definitions matter.
  • Louis Jones, Media & Marketing Consultant & Brand Safety Officer, Brand Safety Institute
  • Yale Cohen, EVP, Global Digital Standards, Publicis Media Exchange. Publicis Media 
  • Robin O'Neill, Managing Director, Investment, GroupM
  • Elijah Harris, Global Digital Partnerships and Media Responsibility, MAGNA

View the video here

In addition to the video participants enumerated above, the Brand Safety Institute would like to thank the following companies for their time, candor, insights, and contributions to the creation of the white paper:

  • Brand Advance
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Dentsu International
  • GSK
  • GroupM
  • Horizon Media
  • Mastercard
  • Mondelēz International
  • NBCUniversal
  • OMD
  • Publics
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • YouTube


Topics: Brand Safety, White Paper, Brand Safety Officers, Brand Reputation, Ad Quality, Ad Adjacency, Piracy, Block lists, Research, Disinformation, Brand Suitability, Brand Safety Officer in Residence, Role of the Brand Safety Officer, Marketers, Louis Jones, exclusion list, keyword blocking, trends, revenue, Ad Security Vendors, misinformation, Corporate Social Responsibility