Business Today

A Digital Conundrum

Is digital advertising really effective?

Honchos of two FMCG behemoths, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, have sparked off a global debate on the safety and efficacy of digital advertising.

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, recently called it "murky at best, fraudulent at worse". He admitted his company had succumbed to the "latest shiny objects" without realising that the digital media buying chain lacked transparency. Pritchard pointed out that more consumers are installing ad blockers on personal devices due to "crappy advertising" and contested the claims of Facebook and Twitter, which offer their own measurement metrics.

Keith Weed, Chief Marketing Officer at Unilever, in his keynote address at the annual meeting of the Interactive Advertising Board (IAB), said earlier this year: "Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society and promote anger or hate. We will prioritise investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society."

The concern of the two stem from advertisements being served alongside objectionable content on platforms such as Google and YouTube. A report by the Association of National Advertisers in the US also talked about lack of transparency in the $200 billion digital media buying industry. "The study highlighted that digital media buying is actually not as clean as one thought it was. So, digital platforms would go to a big agency and say I want to pass some of my digital (inventory).

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