There is a strong sentiment among consumers to reject a brand entirely if it is seen to publish ads next to “unsafe” or unsavoury content on web pages, according to a new study from IPG Mediabrands and CHEQ.
“The Brand Safety Effect” study suggests that consumers are taking no prisoners in terms of cutting off all association with a company if it fails to uphold certain standards across the web. The study found that audiences are often angry or repulsed when any marketing messages pop up against content deemed to be negative or violent.
This initial reaction then hardens into a desire to drop contact with a brand altogether as impacted consumers are eight times less interested about completing a purchase from those that have offended them in some way.
This stems partly from a belief that certain brands are using ads in unsafe environments on purpose with the aim of exploiting shock value to drive promotion. While brand safety has been a hot topic during the last 18 months, the latest study indicates that consumers are unwilling to forgive and forget.
“Our joint research with CHEQ shows that most consumers believe there are no mistakes in advertising, meaning that if an ad runs next to violent and/or offensive content, for example, they assume the brand deliberately placed it there and is in some way endorsing the content,” said Joshua Lowcock, Global Brand Safety Officer at UM Worldwide (part of IPG Mediabrands).
The study showed that consumers often believe that offending brands are either out of touch, less desirable, should be avoided, or do not care about them personally.