Kia and Holden lead retreat of Australian brands from YouTube as undesirable content crisis grows

After two weeks of advertisers retreating from Youtube programmatic buys in Europe and the US over fears ads are running next to offensive content, the crisis has hit Australia with Holden and Kia the first local brands to suspend advertising on the video platform.

Kia and Holden first Australian brands to suspend YouTube programmatic ads

GM Holden confirmed it suspended programmatic placement of ads on YouTube over the weekend after it became aware of its brand appearing next to controversial videos on YouTube.

Kia also suspended its advertising over the weekend and said it was now seeking clarity from Google.

“Programmatic advertising was suspended as soon as we were made aware of this particular incident. It will remain suspended until such time as we can meet with Google to further clarify the application of this type of advertising,” a Kia spokesperson told Mumbrella.

Holden said it was continuing to look into how its brand had been linked to inappropriate content and acted immediately when it was alerted.

“Holden in no way supports the content our advertising has been inadvertently associated with. We’re proud of our diversity credentials,” the company said in a statement.

“We value our good relationship with Google but in line with General Motors’ global response and Holden’s diversity stance we have instructed our media agency to suspend all advertising on YouTube until we are confident Google can protect our brand from offensive content. We’ll work with Google to achieve this.”

YouTube parent company Google has repeated its stance shared in other countries that it is working with advertisers to solve their concerns, but would not name local advertisers who were now also suspending programmatic ads on its platform.

“We don’t comment on individual customers but as announced, we’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear,” the company said in a statement.

“While we recognise that no system will be 100% perfect, we believe these major steps will further safeguard our advertisers’ brands and we are committed to being vigilant and continuing to improve over time.”

Google is facing rising concerns around the globe since advertisers started question the content their ads were being placed with and the associated brand safety concerns.

The UK government and Havas in the UK led the charge and by the end of last week the concerns were being expressed by major brands in the US with the likes of AT&T, Verizon and GSK all moving to distance themselves from the platform.

Kia and Holden are the first Australian brands to confirm the suspension of YouTube ads.


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