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What is brand safety?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (“IAB”) defines ‘brand safety’ as “keeping a brand’s reputation safe when it advertises online“. The objective of brand safety is to ensure that the placement of advertisements is such that they are protected against surrounding content that is universally considered to be unsavory. It is intended to prevent potential negative associations with the brand due to particular types of ‘harmful’ content in the vicinity of the ad. For instance, an advertisement for a product such as Bournvita (promoted as a children or family based product), affixed on or displayed in the midst of pornographic content, would work to the disadvantage of the image of the brand. Substantial time and investment is made by brands on projecting a particular type of image, and when their ads are placed in the wrong context, it can damage their image in no time. It takes the consumer mere seconds to make up his/her mind about the brand just by the content it is being associated with, rendering the brandguilty by association. Hence, years of cultivating the “right” image can vanish in the blink of an eye.

Research findings have demonstrated that people respond to the entire context of an ad impression, instead of just the content of the ad. Ads appearing near high-quality content are found to be more likable than the same ads in low-quality surroundings. As per results of the Integral Ad Science’s (IAS) biometric research,ads viewed in high-quality web environments were perceived 74% more favorably than the same ads seen in low-quality surroundings.

What is universally considered “inappropriate”?

According to the IAB, the following categories of content termed as the ‘Dirty Dozen’ are considered to be universally inappropriate – military conflict, obscenity, illegal drugs, tobacco, adult, arms, crime, death or injury, online piracy, hate speech, terrorism and spam or harmful sites.

When brand value and brand equity are to be focused on the most, an enterprise that prudently looks at all perspectives can beat the odds and emerge stronger.