Brand safety is “a constant game of whack-a-mole”, says Mars’ global head of media, as he juggles the food giant’s own ethical approach to marketing with the ever-mutating digital landscape.

Mars has played a central role in promoting the collaboration across advertisers, publishers and platforms that led to the creation of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, unveiled last week in Cannes.

“We wanted to go from a reactive position on the issue of brand safety and more driving a proactive dialogue,” Rob Rakowitz, global head/media at Mars, explained at a session held by WPP Group, the holding company, during the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“We talk about the good and we talk about the bad of digital,” he continued. “It is a constant game of whack-a-mole.”

And faced with this high-stakes arcade game, “what we wanted was more hands on the mallet”, he said. (For more, read WARC’s report: Mars makes the case for responsible marketing.)

Individual corporate and localised brand-safety initiatives from industry groups have made some progress in tackling a few problems in the online ecosystem, he acknowledged. But “it hasn’t been enough” to solve the shortcomings of digital in a holistic way.

A more formalised collaboration has become necessary to address the issues of both brand and consumer safety.

While crafting a responsible media environment is the initial priority, a longer-term mission is taking shape.

“If we come back in a year’s time, [the hope is] that there are demonstrable actions that have … created a common foundation for all of the platforms, all of the advertisers, and for consumers to really enjoy good experiences online,” Rakowitz said.

“And we’re going to come up with metrics; there's going to be a currency that we are actually going to create to measure some of the activities,” he added.

“It’s not only [monitoring] content, it’s also comments, it’s all of these other areas that people been noticing, and that have been popping up in this game of whack-a-mole that I’ve been talking about.”

Sourced from WARC