New Advertising Protection Bureau hopes to detox negative ad environments 

Say Aaaah

The 4A’s, founded a century ago as a trade organization to represent advertising agencies, recently announced its latest industry program to achieve “Advertising Assurance” – the enforcement of environments where brands and consumers can “coexist with trust.” The Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB or Bureau), introduced at the 4A’s annual Accelerate conference in April 2018, currently includes executives from GroupM, Dentsu Aegis Network, IPG Mediabrands, Havas Media, Horizon Media, Omnicom Media Group, Publicis Media and MDC Partners. The Bureau pledges to notify members when ads from any agency – even nonmembers – appear in an “unsafe environment.”

The Takeaway

Safety in an advertising context is a set of practices undertaken to protect ads, consumers and brands from situations and practices that might compromise them. Inappropriate content, malicious software and incommensurate standards between agencies are examples of challenges that can compromise the advertising ecosystem as a whole. The Bureau will tackle three initiatives as first steps to increase safety throughout the industry. It plans to develop a “risk management module,” a taxonomy of risks that can help advertisers understand and communicate their own risk tolerance levels. The APB is also developing a “decency code,” a set of basic guidelines that will be aligned with the Media Rating Council’s pending Brand Safety Guidelines. The Bureau will also create an “industry playbook” to help standardize the industry’s approach to unsafe ad environments. 4A’s management stressed that the APB was a means to an end; the Bureau will break down “the silos to create a united community that protects the health of all brands, while keeping consumers safe, too.”