AT&T, Verizon, Other Brands Flee Google, YouTube Over Offensive Videos

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Many advertisers, big and small, have been pulling their advertisements from YouTube and Google for the last few days. Major U.S. brands like Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Verizon and a few Irish advertisers are boycotting the search giant as well. This boycott comes even after the search giant promised to keep extremist and offensive content away from their ads.

Google promises to make things better

In an investigation, The Times found that ads from major brands were appearing in YouTube videos promoting extremist views and, in turn, making money for the creators.

On Monday, the search giant apologized to the big brands for letting offensive videos appear with their ads on YouTube. The apology came after big firms like HSBC and Marks & Spencer pulled their ads for the U.K. markets from Google sites.

In a statement, Google said it is raising the bar for its ads policies to safeguard advertisers’ brands. At the recent annual Advertising Week Europe event in London, Google EMEA President Matt Brittin said he would like to apologize to the advertisers and partners who might have been affected by their ads appearing with offensive content.

Major brands abandoning Google, YouTube

On Wednesday, major U.S. companies and ad buyers announced that they are either reducing or halting their deals with the search giant over concerns that the company has not been able to protect their brands from getting mixed with offensive content on the internet. AT&T said it is stopping its entire ad spending except for search ads on Google. This means AT&T ads will not run on YouTube or the other 2 million websites that take part in Google’s ad network.

In an emailed statement to USA Today, AT&T said, “We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate.”

Further, the company said it is removing its ads from non-search platforms until Google makes sure that this won’t happen again.

Another mobile operator that pulled its ads was Verizon. The news was confirmed by Sanette Chao, who manages marketing communications and branding for the mobile operator. Even Irish advertisers are pulling their ads from Google. One of Ireland’s major brand advertising agencies, Core Media, which represents AIB, the National Lottery and Heineken, among others, is also removing its ads from YouTube.

This seems quite bad for the search giant and could impact its revenue. Thus, it is time for Google to stop making pledges and start taking action because it would not want to lose more brands.

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