A little more than a year ago, in January 2017, Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, threw down a gauntlet. Frustrated by increasing instances of frauds, breaches, sloppy executions and potentially shady markups, Pritchard posed a historic dare to digital advertisers to either “grow up” or P&G would pull their ads. In addition to a thorough review of media-agency contracts, Pritchard demanded industry-standard viewability metrics, fraud protection and third-party verification.
It was just a sign that brands were fed up. In March 2017, more than 250 advertisers boycotted Google and YouTube after ads were reported showing up next to extremist videos on YouTube. P&G itself pulled more than $140 million in digital advertising, citing concerns about lack of transparency and peril to brand safety.