We who work in advertising and media love brands. We build brands, we nurture them, we care about them every day. We love them, right?
When a new ad campaign is rolled out, we put our whole heart in it. Tremendous hours are worked, millions are spent, big deals are made. A wide range of new tools are used, like competitor analysis, and automated services that are trending these days. When everything seems so organised, and well-done, surprising, even shocking things can happen at least for people who watch them.
How can a premium automobile company advertise on a sexually explicit website, or an extreme dating site? Why would anyone advertise glass doors on an astrology website, or building tools on a recipe blog? What’s the conversion of a German insurance company’s ad in China? How are biological microscopes connected to a celeb’s drug usage? What do mothers think when thay see a baby diaper ad next to a picture of drunk people? You keep pressing F5 key and the phenomenon exists, definitely. Who gives money for this? Why is it there?
Is it really how we care about our brands?
Let us explain what happens in the background.
Companies want huge-huge online campaigns. They want to reach millions of people across tens of thousands of websites. Networks offer agencies/advertisers access to inventory across many publishers with less effort than buying direct. Here is the point where things get tricky. The companies who advertise mainly pay for reaching the biggest target audience as possible. Networks are usually paid for volume, the biggest traffic possible. Quality assurance is out of interest, or is just simply not possible because of the heavy KPIs. Automation, programmatic buying makes the situation even more complicated. Eventually, the place where ads appear is not under control enough.
This is how a brand can get unsafe pretty easily. If you don’t know where your ad is, you can’t control your image. We know that you care about it, we all care about it.
Be conscious: ask for transparency.