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What the Advertiser Protection Bureau Could Mean for Local TV

June 1st, 2018   ||    by Melanie Brown

In the wake of what seems like an endless series of crises for digital advertising and audience targeting this year, the newly announced Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB) comes as the latest step toward full advertising transparency.

Comprised of top executives from all the major agency holding companies—as well as Horizon Media (the largest independent media agency)—the Advertiser Protection Bureau has taken on the responsibility of protecting brands and consumers from the emerging threat of ads appearing in “risky environments.”

How It Will Work

Brand safety leaders from Dentsu Aegis, Omnicom Media Group, GroupM, Havas Media, IPG Mediabrands, Horizon Media, MDC Partners, and Publicis are committed to taking action for the good of the brands they collectively serve. All participants have agreed to notify each other if any brand advertising is seen in an environment deemed unsafe.

According to a recent press release from a closed-door event in March, notifications will kick off a process in which the suspect environment is flagged and then investigated by the brand-agency team.

The APB has a few items on its future roadmap, including assigning categories of risk for every advertising environment, creating baseline safety expectations through collaboration with the Media Ratings Council, and developing an industry playbook that includes methodologies, best practices, and new standards to combat unsafe advertising environments.

Why It Needs to Work

The need for an organization and process like this has been long talked about in the industry. Advertisers on various digital platforms have in the past found their ads placed alongside videos and other content that ranged from inadvisable to borderline horrifying, all because the inventory was bought without the oversight of a human eye.

Transparency has been an ongoing concern in the world of programmatic advertising, and digital marketing isn’t the only industry to start feeling the pressure to pull back the curtain. Local television has already begun the process of opening up its historically closed borders. At the end of last year, a consortium of local broadcast station groups announced the launch of the TV Interface Practices (TIP) initiative. This initiative was designed to aggregate industry best practices around buying local television programmatically into a universal methodology for programmatic TV.

The team mentality demonstrated by both the APB and the TIP initiative is indicative of the way the advertising industry as a whole should be approaching the future of automated advertising. As with so much in technological advancement, we often don’t know there’s a problem until we’re confronted with it. Taking consistent action is the first step to solving these problems for good—and ensuring the long-term success of industries like local TV.

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