Irish advertisers revolt as Google backs down
Core Media joins Havas Media Ireland, warns of ad boycott
A growing number of Ireland's advertisers are considering withholding advertising from Google over fears that Irish ads are appearing alongside extremist YouTube video content.
Core Media - one of Ireland's biggest media-buying agencies with clients that include Heineken, AIB and the National Lottery - has warned that it may advise against advertising with Google.
The move comes after another ad agency, Havas Media Ireland, said that it was consulting with clients such as Hyundai, Emirates and the FAI over whether or not to suspend ad campaigns on YouTube and Google.
Companies such as Marks & Spencer, McDonald's and Tesco have already withdrawn advertising from Google in the UK because of their ads being placed within extremist YouTube videos.
"We have communicated to our clients that we are concerned about insufficient vetting of some of the content that goes up onto the Google Network," said Justin Cullen, chief digital and data officer for Core Media.
"There is a small percentage of inventory they're selling where ads are at risk of being displayed beside inappropriate content. Some clients are concerned that their brands might be in a compromising position and we've relayed those concerns to Google."
Mr Cullen said that Core Media will now begin whitelisting and blacklisting sites and content on behalf of clients who are concerned about where their brands appear.
The company, which has 300 employees, purchased €225m of media advertising in Ireland last year. Its stance comes as more senior Google executives offer apologies and system reform to assuage advertisers' fears.
The company's chief business officer, Philipp Schindler, said that Google will hire more people to address ads appearing alongside extremist content and, in some cases, to block such content altogether.
"We deeply apologise," said Philipp Schindler, chief business officer in Google. "We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us. We're taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. We'll be hiring significant numbers of people and developing new tools powered by our latest advancements in AI and machine learning to increase our capacity to review questionable content for advertising.
"We won't stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform - not just what content can be monetised."