Google Searches for PR Solutions to Global Advertising Boycott

Written by: Jacqui Maddock

Haven't heard about the Google ad ban? You should google it. The internet giant has found itself at the centre of a global big business backlash, with companies in the UK, US and now Australia, pulling their advertising dollars from YouTube.

Why would advertisers abandon a platform on which 5 billion videos are watched every day? Simple. It seems YouTube's been placing ads for global brands such as Johnson & Johnson and Nestle next to videos promoting terrorism, extremism, anti-semitism and other inflamatory forms of hate.

Don't believe me? Well, it.

For advertisers, it's a marketers' worst nightmare. Luxury watches, food manufacturers, telco giants and big-pharma companies are among the hundreds worldwide to join the Google-boycott. In Australia, Ford, Hyundai and Holden are among the big-name brands to withdraw ad-spends from YouTube.

Google was set to snare US$72.69 billion in digital advertising in 2017. But now? Well, we'll see.

The steps Google has taken - in damage control mode - are telling. What's more, they'll have an big influence on the size of the dent this boycott makes to its bottom line.

First things first, Google has apologised. To advertisers and to consumers. From a crisis communication program perspective, admitting the mistake is almost always the right action.

Secondly, the tech behemoth has outlined an action plan and a fresh path forward to reassure advertisers that it is working on addressing their concerns and ensuring their advertising dollars won't ever again be spent on commercials linked to hate videos.

“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. We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands," said chief business officer, Phillip Schindlerm, in a blog post.

The time it takes for Google to deliver on this promise and calm the corporate world down will directly determine the size of this crisis in both reputational and financial terms.

Care to know how this crisis ends? No probs. Set a Google alert.