Brand safety: consumers 2.8x less likely to associate with brands near negative content

Anne Freier | October 26, 2018

Adverts that appear within a negative context can lead to a 2.8x reduction in consumer intent to associate with the brands, according to a new study by CHEQ, the brand safety company and MAGNA, the media advisory arm of IPG Mediabrands.

The study highlights just how important brand safety has become in reassuring consumers of their brand affiliation.

Indeed, many consumers viewed unsafe ad placements as a direct endorsement of negative content, leading to a 2x drop in purchase intent.

Consumers also felt that brands cared less about them (4.5x drop) when displaying their ads next to unsafe content.

Furthermore, the study measured a 3x decline in consumers feeling that brands were “in the know”.

“Our joint research with CHEQ shows that most consumers believe there are no mistakes in advertising, meaning that if an ad runs next to violent and/or offensive content, for example, they assume the brand deliberately placed it there and is in some way endorsing the content,” said Joshua Lowcock, global brand safety officer at UM Worldwide, part of IPG Mediabrands. “Brands need to be aware that blindly following a customer or chasing media price efficiency can have devastating effects on the long-term health of their brands.”

As a direct consequence of displaying ads next to unsafe content, consumers quality perception of a brand also dropped 7x, which leads to consumers being less likely (0.5x) to recommend a brand.

“First-generation ad-verification solutions have focused primarily on reporting brand-safety violations after they have occurred, rather than preventing them in real-time,” added Guy Tytunovich, CHEQ’s CEO and Founder. “This means that advertisers are still, repeatedly on display alongside potentially damaging content. For this reason, we launched this study, with the intent of gauging the effect of this negative exposure on the brand’s image. The findings clearly show just how compromised brands are, and how years of reputation building can go down the drain with just a few negative ad placements.”

As a takeaway, brands must remember that consumers view each placement as intentional and an endorsement of other content. Therefore, brands must avoid bad content placements rather than measuring unsafe ad exposures.

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