Consumers: Brands Shouldn’t Advertise Near Offensive Content

Mon Jun 19, 2017

Kathy Crosett

Earlier this month, in a widely reported move, both Delta and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship from the New York City-based Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. The companies were worried about the political angle the production was taking and potential brand damage. Their response to the situation reinforces the latest research from the CMO Council. Titled, Brand Protection From Digital Content Infection, the research focuses on how consumers react to what brands do.

In the digital universe, brands aren’t always careful about the content their messages appear next to. They should be. Over 37% of consumers will change their opinions of a brand when they see its messages placed next to offensive content. Another 10.5% will boycott or not do business with a brand and 9.0% will be vocal or raise complaints.

These days, at least 60% of consumers are looking at more traditional and trusted sources to get ‘real’ news. When consumers turn to these sources, they may miss your clients’ messages completely – especially if your clients are advertising exclusively on sites that don’t guarantee ad placement near quality content.

Consumers also form negative impressions of brands that engage in annoying advertising tactics. These tactics range from intrusive pop-ups (22%) to auto-playing video ads (17 percent.) Consumers also show little patience for misleading ads (23%) or irritating video or TV ads (11 percent.) These objection rates are higher than in-store aggravations, like encountering staff members who don’t understand the products they’re selling (10 percent.) Ad campaigns that turn off consumers practically ensure that retailers won’t see the kind of foot traffic they’re hoping for in their bricks-and-mortar establishments.

With many brands rethinking the image they want to portray to consumers, it might be time to bring up this topic with your clients. Remind them that taking the high road with respect to the ad formats they choose will make an impression on consumers who may be fed up with the negativity that has been so pervasive lately. Encourage your clients to take extra care with the media buys and show them the kind of content that will appear next to ad space they buy from you.

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About Kathy Crosett

Kathy is the Research Director for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel.

View all posts by Kathy Crosett
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