More than 80% of US consumers say they would reduce or stop altogether purchases of products that advertised near extreme or dangerous content, according to a new survey which also finds that consumers define brand safety more broadly than expected.

Conducted among 1,017 respondents via SurveyMonkey by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Brand Safety Institute (BSI), the survey found that consumers include issues such as ad-related piracy and malware, as well as those involving ad placement around inappropriate content.

They also assigned responsibility for brand safety across the supply chain, including not only the advertisers (70% cited them), but also agencies (68%), publishers (61%), and ad tech providers (46%).

Among potential topics of brand-unsafe content, consumers expressed the strongest concern about ads running near hate speech (73%), pornographic content (73%), violent content (70%), and illegal drug-related content (69%).

More than half of respondents also said that advertisers should prevent their ads from running near stolen/pirated movies or TV shows (53%) and unsafe or hacked websites (73%).

Less than half of respondents thought advertisers should prevent their ads from running near gambling-related content (43%) or controversial political views (41%).

That said, most drew the line at ads appearing next to racist neo-Nazi propaganda (87% would reduce their spending on that product, 58% would stop buying it) and terrorist recruiting videos (90% would reduce their spending on the product advertised, 67% would stop buying it).

The biggest danger for brands, however, comes from the ads themselves: if respondents discovered an ad had infected their computer or mobile device with malware, 93% would reduce their spending on the product advertised, and 73% would stop buying it altogether.

While what consumers say they will do and what they actually do tend not to coincide, Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG and co-founder of BSI, argued that the survey revealed “the real and measurable risk to a company’s bottom line from a preventable brand safety crisis”.

Reputational harm can be hard to measure, he acknowledged, but added that “consumers said that they plan to vote with their wallets if brands fail to take the necessary steps to protect their supply chain from risks such as hate speech, malware, and piracy”.

Sourced from TAC, BSI; additional content by WARC staff