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Brand Safety: How to survive a scandal
Nearly a month since the Tiger Woods scandal broke and brands are still running scared. From him and from other athletes or celebrities paid to endorse products. But this running from scandal isn't necessarily the right move, instead brands need to be prepared for scandals before they break by properly managing not only an ad campaign but where the ads in every campaign are placed.
I had the chance to chat with Amiad Solomon, founder and CEO of semantic ad platform Peer39 for this first of a two-part series on brand protection. In this article we'll focus on preparing for scandal. In the next: recovery options for brands associated with scandal.
What is Solomon's response to the Tiger Woods scandal? Semantics can both help and hurt marketers.
"Brands can target their ads using semantic technology so that their ads appear alongside appropriate and safe content," said Mr. Solomon. "This is an excellent example to show the difference [between] semantic and contextual [advertising]. While contextual systems would target the phrase "Tiger Woods" to Golf, a semantic system analyzes the precise meaning of the page and classifies content based on that. As a matter of fact, recent discussion about Tiger Woods would be semantically classified as Gossip and Celebrity News."
As such there is a smaller chance that an ad for a conservative golf ball company, for example, would appear next to the content about the mistress/sex scandal surrounding the embattled golfer. The key, according to all experts, is to prepare for scandal long before a scandal erupts. Why? Because preparation is the key to keeping your brand or product from being associated with the scandal when it had nothing to do with the scandal.
"Brand reputations can be tarnished and damaged in a powerful way very quickly if they become associated with 'negative' content," said Mr. Solomon. "If a brand has spent time and effort to connect itself to wholesome and honest values, and then ads begin to appear next to scandalous content, its message and image can be, at least partially, ruined."
What is the right way to prepare? Solomon has two suggestions:
• Subscribe to a brand protection system, this allows brands to pick the content adjacent to its ads by disallowing negative content
• Brands shouldn't rely on cookies or keywords alone in ad targeted because those things don't account for the semantics of the content
Tomorrow we will cover the second half of scandal: recovery. According to Solomon recovery from a scandal is possible, by following the right steps.
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