Cisco recently found its brand being promoted in places it hadn't anticipated (or desired).

Automated media buying had, in fact, placed Cisco messages on, the right-wing news platform, and the online hub for Bill O'Reilly's now-canceled show on Fox News while the presenter was mired in allegations relating to sexual harassment.

"Because of programmatic media buying, I had ads that showed up on Breitbart and on O'Reilly," Karen Walker, Cisco's SVP/CMO, told delegates at the 2017 Collision Conference in New Orleans. "And my CEO had something to say about that."


Karen Walker, SVP/CMO, Cisco

Cisco was ultimately one of many brands which found themselves in an awkward situation due to such programmatically-induced missteps. And these issues, Walker asserted, will almost inevitably arise in a digital ecosystem replete with prospective problems of media placement. In this context, the test for marketers is how quickly, and how well, they respond once problems appear.