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Interpublic warns Google on brand safety

News, 21 March 2017
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GLOBAL: Michael Roth, chairman and CEO of the Interpublic Group (IPG), has warned that more advertisers will vote with their feet if Google fails to allay concerns over brand safety after online ads were displayed next to extremist videos.

"It has to be corrected," Roth told an audience at Advertising Week Europe in London yesterday. "If they don't fix it, they're going to suffer economically, which is the ultimate accountability."

His comments followed the actions of media agency Havas, which said on Friday it was stopping spending with Google and Google-owned YouTube because it had failed to receive satisfactory assurances that video and display content would be classified quickly enough and with the correct filters.

"They [Google] have to put systems in place that look at placement" of ads, Roth said. "It's incumbent upon them to do it."

Several public bodies, media owners and brands have announced in recent days that they were pulling ads from YouTube over concerns these were appearing alongside "inappropriate" content.

Roth said Google has assured IPG that it can arrive at a solution to the issue. While the executive declined to say how long IPG is prepared to wait for a resolution, Roth said the advertising group would keep up the pressure on Google. "We're not giving them a free pass," he declared.

Speaking in a separate session, Matt Brittin, President for Google EMEA, expressed contrition and said the company planned to review existing controls, policies and enforcement.

"Please accept our apologies," he told his audience. "We need to improve and get better."

Although Google and YouTube are in the spotlight, it's a wider issue for the industry, Brittin insisted. "It's important we get this right," he added.

Data sourced from Warc

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