The auto company Jaguar Land Rover, is running into some problems with their digital advertising in the UK. The company, like most their size, is using programmatic ad purchasing to get their ads out in front of as wide a range of people as possible who may be interested in buying their vehicles. Reports are coming out, however, that their ads are appearing on some very questionable websites. Specifically, websites that advocate Islamic extremism, white supremacy, and even some pornographic sites.
This has prompted Jaguar Land Rover to suspend all of their digital ads in the UK while they try to figure out what is happening, and how they can stop it.
A statement from the company said, “Jaguar Land Rover is very concerned by reports that advertising featuring our brands may benefit extremist and other inappropriate on-line media. This is an unintended consequence of algorithm technology used on some video-sharing websites.” They went on to say, “We take our brands’ reputation very seriously and have decided to stop all UK digital advertising activity until further investigation gives us assurance that we can resume it safely.”
This type of advertising could generate thousands of dollars per month for the sites where they are displayed. This means that companies like Jaguar Land Rover are sending money to these organizations, which is not only against what the company wants, but can also give them a lot of bad press.
The brand is said to be working with Mindshare, its paid-for media agency, to minimise the risk of being associated with controversial content.
On the back of the revelations, MPs have called on Google to explain how and why extremists are making money from advertising on its YouTube platform. Google must approve users to make money from advertising.
“This is deeply disturbing,” said Chuka Umunna, a member of the home affairs select committee. “There is no doubt the social media companies could be doing far more to prevent the spread of extremist content.”
While additional efforts certainly need to be made in order to stop this type of thing, it can be extremely difficult to eliminate it all together.