Brands finds a way to ensure those events do

Brands doing their utmost to avoid featuring their ads before dodgy content on video platformsBrand safety, advertisers’ long-winded battle on video platformsWhen it comes to advertising on video platforms such as Youtube, 2017 has undoubtedly had its share of controversies. Throughout the year, the video platform has come under fire from both advertisers and committed users. The reason that sparked outrage is no other than brand safety.The matter that firstly made more than 200 major advertisers discontinue their spending on the video platform is the  fact that their ads featured right before hateful – and more precisely extremist – content back in March. Then came another controversy in November, when it was pointed that Youtube did not manage to spot and remove coarse comments that were posted on videos depicting children. This led to even more advertisers ending up their campaigns on the platform – most of them choosing to withdraw until Youtube finds a way to ensure those events do not happen againWe cannot help but notice that the Google owned platform has not yet found a solution able to satisfy the advertisers’ requirements. This is proven by the recent, widely covered, Logan Paul controversy. For those who might have missed the headline, on December 31st 2017, Logan Paul – an American vlogger followed by more than 16 million – posted a video where he and his friends visited the “Sea of Trees” forest in Japan. During their visit, they encountered a corpse – supposedly from a man who commited suicide – which became the main focus of the gloomy video. Here again, Youtube failed to identify the content in infringement of its own rule which states that graphic video are authorised for educational purposes or documentary information only.All of these occurrences highlight the lack of responsivity from the platform, and this is why it is being castigated by advertisers. Despite the platform trying to come up with measure to fix these issues, a genuine solution is yet to be found. Most, if not all the companies, that decided to stop advertising on the platform have brought up brand safety and ethics as the reasons for their choices. This is indeed understandable, being associated with content that differ from the values a brand is conveying and defending would be a counterproductive move.In order to avoid facing the scenario described above, some brands are developing in-house bespoke tools allowing them to ensure their brand is safe and preserved from any dubious content. The perfect example of an organisation which understands the ins and outs of Youtube is JPMorgan Chase. Aware of the  platform’s power and potential  in terms of communications and advertising, the American bank has developed its own tool to filter the content it appears next to. According to the financial institution, the proprietary technology scans millions of Youtube channels, users, comments and topics to eventually propose a selection of safe places where the bank could safely run its ads. With brand safety issues hitting the forefront of news, it is ever more critical for brands to ensure their advertising does not feature alongside harmful content. The question arises as to whether advertisers will have to develop their own tools to avoid suffering from unfortunate associations, or if content providers will decide to tackle this issue and come up with a genuine solution that would satisfy everyone.Time will tell.