In June, NBC’s Megyn Kelly interviewed a controversial guest, Alex Jones. Ahead of the episode, some of the show’s sponsors, including JPMorgan Chase, pulled its ads.
“As an advertiser, I’m repulsed that @megynkelly would give a second of airtime to someone who says Sandy Hook and Aurora are hoaxes,” Kelly Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer of JPMorgan Chase, tweeted.
JPMorgan Chase has also stopped working with YouTube temporarily. YouTube has struggled to promise advertisers that their placements won’t appear next to troubling videos.
“We’ve pulled out [of YouTube] until we can be 100% certain that our advertising won’t be next to hate or fake news, but we are pretty certain they are going to come up with a solution,” Susan Canavari, Chief Brand Officer of JPMorgan Chase, told Business Insider at the Cannes Lions festival.
When asked what YouTube’s brand safety solution for advertisers might look like, Canavari said she didn’t feel it’d be fair to speak on Google’s behalf, but that “they do have a plan in place and we are confident they will get there.”
Canavari also discussed a unique whitelisting strategy her team uses to protect its brand against “hate and fake news” across the Internet.
Below is a transcription of that portion of the conversation. Or watch it, above.
Alyson Shontell: One thing that I’ve heard a lot of people talking about and that seems to be popping up as a growing trend is it’s really difficult to be an advertiser right now in the digital climate. It can be really hard to protect your brand, and brand safety and brand awareness really has to be top of mind, so couple of things that you all have been in the news for recently, one was Megyn Kelly just shot a show with Alex Jones, who’s very controversial and you sent out a tweet about how you were going to pull out of the episode and I wanted to just ask you how you arrived at that decision and why you thought that it was important.
Susan Canavari: You know, we do feel like as an advertiser, it’s incredibly important to our brand health that our advertising and all of our content is in contextual places that is far away from hate and fake news as possible so internally, over the last several months, we have processes in place to ensure that none of our advertiser and our content is near fake news or hate. You know, in fact we have a person that — we hired an intern who physically clicks on all of the sites that are available to us through programmatic so she’s gone through 10,000 sites and has eliminated any sites that are associated with hake and fake news. So it’s really — that’s a really important thing to us in terms of making sure that we maintain our brand health.
Shontell: And it does seem like blacklisting of sites is something that’s becoming an essential part to brand strategy but another thing that you do is you actually whitelist sites as well, right?
Canavari: We actually do whitelist sites and like I said, it’s a manual process, we take this very seriously and we just want to make sure that our advertising and our content is in adjacent to things that we feel are where our customers are and what’s important to them. So, yes.
Shontell: And you know another thing that comes up too is this idea of a duopoly and when you look at where all the digital advertising dollars are moving, Facebook and Google seem to just keep coming up. I think they have 85 plus per cent, it was the latest study of ad dollars, so how do you view the duopoly and also in things like Google in particular, they’re not — they can’t escape this brand safety issue either, they have a lot of issues with YouTube as well.
Canavari: Well, you know, here’s the thing they do and we consider them a very close partner. We obviously — we’ve pulled out of YouTube until they can solve these problems but we are working on it with them. And if anything, you know, I think that they would say that the timing wasn’t great for them but that they are happy that it is an issue that they are addressing. And so it is an issue I think that all publishers are going to have to address and it’s sort of made them focused on what they are going to do to fix it. And like I said, we are working with them on that. We’ve pulled out until we can be 100% certain that our advertising won’t be next to hate or fake news but we are pretty certain they are going to come up with a solution.
Shontell: Do you have any idea what that solution will look like just in general for how the landscape can change?
Canavari: You know, I don’t want to speak for what they are doing because I don’t think that would be fair but they do have — they do have a plan in place and we are confident they will get there.
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