Depending on who's doing the telling, the recent kerfuffle sparked by a series of articles in The Times of London earlier this year is a near-apocalyptic event in the marketing world or much ado about nothing. The truth, as is usually the case in such matters, probably lies somewhere in between.
The Times of London ran articles in February and March that focused on the problem of brands finding their ads placed next to highly inappropriate content, including material posted on YouTube by rape apologists, anti-Semites, and groups linked to terrorist activities. A list of companies that pulled ads from YouTube and other Google websites reads like a "Who's Who" of leading brands: Coke, Pepsi, GM, Starbucks, Toyota, Walmart, Verizon, and Johnson & Johnson, to name a few.
Like a number of brands, Verizon responded to ANA's request for comment with a prepared statement: "Verizon is one of the largest advertisers in the world, and one of the most respected brands. We take careful measure to ensure our brand is not impacted negatively. Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation. We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future."