Brands thatÂ advertiseÂ online have growing concernsÂ that theirÂ brand’s image may be adversely affected by the placementÂ of ads nearÂ certain types of offensive content. How bad is the risk? A new YouGov survey of more than 2,000 US adults reveals that almost one-thirdÂ of US adults who see an adÂ alongside offensive content believe that the brand being advertised isÂ endorsing that content. By contrast, fewer (20%) believe the ad isÂ not endorsing the content.
Baby Boomers (agesÂ 55+) areÂ the generation most likely to believe that the brand in the ad isÂ endorsing the negative content (35%), whereasÂ Gen Xers (agesÂ 35-54) are more ambivalent, beingÂ almost as likely to say they feelÂ the brand isÂ endorsing as they areÂ to say that the brand isÂ not.
Even when people don’t feel that the advertising brand is not actively endorsing the offensiveÂ content,Â they have a negative response. To wit, almost halfÂ ofÂ respondentsÂ view a brand more negatively when its ads are placed alongside offensive content, andÂ only 28% feelÂ unchanged about the brand.Â In a similar survey thatÂ focused on ads which played during offensive YouTube videos, a correspondingÂ 41% of respondents had worse impressions of the brand as a result, and 36% believed the brands were actually endorsing the offensive content.
Brands mightÂ be justified in being concerned about ad placement. Nearly half of US adults say they see offensive content online at least a few times a week. The types of distasteful materialsÂ that people most frequently encountered areÂ racist (60%), sexist (54%) and anti-LGBT (37%).
In a recently-released study, Integral Ad Science noted that in the second half of 2016, 8.6% of all US display ad impressions and 8.9% of global video ad impressions were flagged on objectionable content.
About the Data: The results are based on a YouGov survey of 2,269 US adults, 1948 of whom have seen offensive content online.