For the love of your business

What is brand safety, and how might it affect my company?

Clarifying Questions

Q: What is brand safety, and how might it affect my company?

-Risk Manager

A: Dear Risk:

Brand safety is a relatively new facet of marketing aimed at keeping your company’s reputation safe when advertising. It primarily involves controlling where your online ads are placed, so they don’t appear alongside content that’s offensive, fraudulent, or inconsistent with your brand’s values.

The issue is largely related to programmatic ad buying, which involves using computer programs to purchase digital ads. These programs buy ads automatically based on data indicating which ads to buy and where to put them, often in real time.

Problem is, these programs can inadvertently place your ad next to content that’s potentially harmful to your brand’s reputation. For example, if you own a cruise ship company, you wouldn’t want your ad run next to a news article covering a recent outbreak of food poisoning on a cruise line.

Some platforms like Facebook allow you to exclude specific demographics, content, and topics you don’t want your ads to appear alongside. However, this is just one of a multitude of brand-safety strategies and tools available.

In today’s digital marketplace, one misplaced ad has the potential to seriously erode the loyalty, respect, and trust you’ve worked so hard to build for your brand. Given this, if you use online advertising, you should look for ways to incorporate brand-safety strategies into your overall marketing efforts.

Consult with a Creative Business Lawyer® to discuss potential legal issues related to your brand-safety efforts and enforcement.

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