Formerly anonymous, Sleeping Giants has been leading a loose movement of consumers pushing to boycott advertisers who spend with hateful, bigoted outlets. The efforts have been embroiled in partisan American politics, as many of the sites they go after are right-wing conservative outlets, including Breitbart and Fox News.
“I don't want to do this forever," she says. "I would like to stop and move on with my life, but, before I do, businesses and brands need to understand the scope of the problem they're facing. They need to take back control of their ads and what they're monetising. And tech platforms need to take back control of who they enable and work with.”
This awareness of the issues around brand safety, and a desire to be proactive, and avoid crisis before it arises, is what animated the creation of the Brand Safety Institute. By educating and empowering, through community and certification, BSI hopes to help the digital advertising industry take care of itself.
Similarly to this mission, Jammi and Sleeping Giants are calling on the industry to put in the effort to do this work themselves.
“Brands need to be aware and coordinate with their media buys and with their agencies. They need to set standards effectively.”
And in her parting shot:
As a final piece of advice to marketers, she concludes: "You have to conduct an audit into where your money is going, where you're putting your money across your marketing mix from online ads to TV ads to what you're partnering with, your sponsorship and who you're associating with before you get involved. It is additional work. That's what brand safety is.”
Yes, it's work. But it's an investment. It's an investment in a brand's reputation, and losing that is simply too expensive for any company to bear. Sleeping Giant's followers may be a brand crisis, or be trying to save your company from one, depending on your point of view. But the lesson remains the same: companies have to put in the up-front work of brand safety themselves.