Omnicom clients advised to advertise in ‘safe environments’, says CEO Peter Horgan

The boss of Omnicom Media Group Australia and New Zealand has said a memo suggesting clients should avoid advertising on certain websites was simply the type of advice given on a routine basis

Horgan: Brand safety approach is routine

Responding to a story published on Buzzfeed Australia, OMG CEO Peter Horgan that said the holding company had instructed staff to avoid advertising on right-wing news site Breitbart, as part of its wider brand safety approach following a number of controversies relating to banner ads appearing on so-called ‘alt-right’ news sites.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Horgan said: “We have a detailed approach to making sure that our clients are advertising in a safe environment so they are not compromised practically. There are sites that will get brands into trouble and we have to stay off there. We are talking about a brand safety approach.”

According to the leaked internal email from OMD Australia seen by Buzzfeed, global clients have been asking that the agency avoid their banner ads appearing on the alt-right news source.

Pressure has increased in recent weeks following a number of posts by a Twitter account called Sleeping Giants, which ‘shames’ global brands for advertising on “racist websites” such as Breitbart, the article reported.

Agreeing with Horgan’s approach, OMG APAC’s CEO Cheuk Chiang described the memo as merely advice to advertisers. He added: “We can only make recommendations, we do not force [clients] to make that call.”


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