will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect
our children or which create division in society, and promote
anger or hate,” Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed is
expected to say Monday during the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s
annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, Calif.
will prioritize investing only in responsible platforms that are
committed to creating a positive impact in society,” he will
say, according to prepared remarks.
one of the world’s largest advertisers, is leveraging its
spending power to push the digital media industry to weed out
content that funds terrorism, exploits children, spreads false
news or supports racist and sexist views. The consumer-products
giant spent more than $9 billion marketing its brands such as
Lipton, Dove and Knorr last year, according to the company’s
the wake of the 2016 election, YouTube, Facebook and other tech
companies have come under scrutiny for allowing the spread of
misinformation—criticism partly fueled by evidence that Russian
actors used their platforms to disseminate information designed
to manipulate U.S. voters.
YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google,
has taken plenty of heat for running ads alongside extremist,
racist and hateful videos, forcing brands to suspend advertising
on the site. Most recently, brands were discovered to be
appearing next to videos that seemed to attract
is about “having a positive impact on society and whether we as
a company want to engage with companies that are not committed
to making a positive impact,” Mr. Weed said in an interview.
has been among the more outspoken advertisers pushing for the
online ad industry to clean up the ad fraud that exists on the
web and offer up stronger
measurement standards to ensure that
advertisers are buying ads that can be seen by real people.
the company continues to push for those initiatives, Mr. Weed
said that consumers don’t care about online advertising
measurement issues. They do care about “fake news” and “Russians
influencing the U.S. election,” he added.
than issue a public list of demands, Mr. Weed said he wants to
work privately with the tech companies to come up with
solutions. Unilever said it has already held discussions with
companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter Inc., Snap Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to
share ideas about what each can do to improve.
fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely
with them,” said a spokeswoman for Facebook.
spokeswoman for Google declined to comment, while the other
firms didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
tech companies had already been trying to rectify some of their
problems. Facebook recently announced major
changes to its algorithm intended to
address concerns over the quality of the content on its site and
its effect on the world.
YouTube has made improvements to the technology it uses to
screen videos, added more human reviewers and given marketers
more control over where their ads appear.
Weed said he is encouraged by the recent moves, which he
described as “meaningful,” but said more work is needed. For
example, he said YouTube hasn’t done enough to protect children.
said that it would have humans review every second of video that
is included in its Google Preferred program, which is a subset
of YouTube videos that is among the most popular and for which
marketers pay a premium to advertise alongside.
believe they should still go further and human screen all videos
with children that are monetized,” he said during the interview.
regards to Facebook, Mr. Weed said the company has taken some
positive steps at trying to alleviate the fake news issue, but
there is “more to do.”
Weed said that advertisers need to be outspoken about issues on
tech platforms, since they are almost entirely supported by
billions of ad dollars.
can start by not putting ads on content we do not want to
encourage,” he said.
annual conference for the IAB, an online advertising trade body,
has become a platform for big-name advertisers to publicly push
last year’s conference, Procter
& Gamble , the
world’s largest advertiser, issued an ultimatum to digital
giants to clean up online advertising.
chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, laid out a list
of demandsthat included the sector adopt one viewability
standard and allow an independent measurement watchdog to audit
some platforms’ ad metrics. He later also demanded that tech
companies such as YouTube come up with greater controls around
their content to avoid having ads appear near controversial
content such as ISIS videos.
year after “the gauntlet was thrown, the progress has been
impressive,” said Mr. Pritchard in a recent interview. He said
90% of his demands have been met and the company is just waiting
for the Media Rating Council to finish auditing some of the ad
metrics of Google and Facebook.
to Suzanne Vranica at email@example.com