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Assessing Risks of TV Advertising: Implications of New APB Resources for Ad Buying

December 20th, 2018   ||    by Melanie Brown

In September of this year, the Advertising Protection Bureau (APB) announced new resources to help advertisers better assess the risks of TV advertising, digital video, and other forms of programmatic media buying.

The APB itself was launched earlier this year, in a collective effort by the ad industry’s major agency players to foster transparency and a kind of “do no harm” environment that facilitates the success of their brand clients’ advertising placements.

The APB’s first initiative, to provide frameworks for brand safety and suitability, has incorporated feedback from industry leaders in the publishing, technology platform, and verification and measurement sectors.

Brand Safety Floor

The Brand Safety Floor is the first piece of the framework. Here is the idea behind this floor: There are some content types and categories that would pose risks to a brand associated with that content via programmatic ad placement. Due to those risks, the content might be deemed unacceptable by the brand in all instances.

The APB has identified 13 categories, ranging from human rights violations (such as human trafficking) to promoting tobacco/vaping to minors, which advertisers can decide are acceptable or unacceptable on any level.

Brand Suitability Framework

Building on the Brand Safety Floor, the Suitability Framework classifies attributes in each of the 13 categories as “high risk,” “medium risk,” or “low risk.” From there, brands and their agencies can determine for themselves what level of those Brand Safety categories is acceptable for their advertising.

In a Television Context

While these brand guidelines were created largely for a digital video and online environment, television advertisers can benefit from the framework provided by the APB as well.

We have already seen cases in which advertisers pull their spots from various programming due to the programming’s content and messaging. These two frameworks provide a solid foundation for brands and their agencies to evaluate the positioning of their advertising, and the stance(s) they may want to take on certain issues.

These days, being an advertiser within content implies an alignment with that content, even if the ad was purchased and placed programmatically according to a target audience. Advertisers and their agencies need to take extra care that ad placement isn’t going to upset the target audience, misrepresent a political stance, or potentially associate the ad with content that is illegal or otherwise dangerous.

The APB’s new framework will be instrumental to the success of programmatic and automated media buying, while mitigating the risks of TV advertising.

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