It has not been an easy process – Media & Advertising

Manuela Botelho, General Secretary of APAN

In recent years, perhaps since 2017, there have been several highly visible situations in which brands that invest in advertising on digital platforms have inadvertently emerged alongside absolutely unacceptable content. Brands do not want to be associated with or fund intentions that are harmful to citizens and society. For brands this is not just a question of finances but, above all, a question of reputation.

For two or three years there were attempts to resolve the situation in a more individualized and localized way, but without success given the complexity of the topic and because there was a lack of scale to put an end to situations of this nature. Let’s be clear, it is advertisers who fund digital platforms, so it was up to us to globally initiate this process if we wanted to prevent brands from unintentionally appearing with harmful content.

It was in 2019, during the world conference of advertisers in Lisbon, that the WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) with the support of its members, launched the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), a unique approach that brings together advertisers, agencies and platforms, with the purpose of significantly improving this situation if we want to maintain the sustainability of this medium. To achieve this, it was necessary to define a common path and rules that start with a clear definition of what is meant by “harmful content” for brands, around which they do not want to appear. And that definition has to be the same for all platforms and it has to work on all of them, be it Google, Facebook, TikTok, etc., in order to allow a common evaluation. What has already been achieved. The second concern is finding evaluation KPIs that are consumer-centric and important to brands, and this has to do with prevalence (the percentage of harmful content views out of total views) and incidence (the percentage of content impressions detrimental to the total number of impressions), so that it is possible to measure the situation and monitor its evolution, also adding to the efficiency with which the security policy is applied by the platforms and the speed with which errors are corrected.

The first aggregated report came out in April this year and the second in November. Finally, this project also aims to be audited by an independent third party, as the data that is collected and presented by the platforms lack this audit, a situation that has been worked on.

This has not been an easy process. There have been great tensions also because it is a very unusual collaboration, but as far as APAN has followed, there has been a real willingness on the part of the platforms to work on this specific partnership. There is still work to be done, especially at the local level, both in brand awareness and in the implementation of processes, so APAN is working on the launch in Portugal of a working group of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media in partnership with agencies and platforms, which will allow us to monitor the situation in the local market.

Opinion article by Manuela Botelho, general secretary of APAN (Portuguese Advertisers Association), published in the M&P 899 edition.

The latest edition of the M&P features an investigation into several examples of illegal advertisements allowed by Facebook in Portugal.


Source: Meios & Publicidade by www.meiosepublicidade.pt.

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