After the school shooting in Parkland Florida, big brands are beginning to be more and more careful about where they place their ads. It used to be, a company wanted to place their ads wherever their was major traffic. More and more companies are learning that the quality of the places they place their ads are more important than placing their ads on any high volume site. Especially wild “right wing” conspiracy theory sites. The move has been causing many people who dwell, and make fortunes in the “conspiracy theory” industry to lose major money. The latest victim: Alex Jones and Info Wars.
CNN (@CNN) reports, last week YouTube reprimanded the conspiracy theory site “Info Wars” and Alex Jones for violating its community guidelines after a video posted to the “Alex Jones Channel”, Infowars biggest YouTube account, claimed student anti-gun activist were actors.
CNN reports that they’ve discovered that Big companies like Nike, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Network, The Mormon Church, Moen, Expedia, Alibaba, HomeAway, Mozilla, Honey, Wix, ClassPass, and the NRA all run ads on Info Wars YouTube channel. Many of the brands have suspended their ads on Info Wars after being contacted by CNN for comment, including Nike, Moen, Expedia, Acer, ClassPass, Honey, Alibaba, and OneFamily. All of the companies declined to give a comment to CNN except for Alibaba, who said that they weren’t even aware that their ads had been running on the channel.
The brands purchased ad campaigns from YouTube, which is owned by Google, or through marketing companies that broadly targeted demographics and used behavior. Companies that purchase ads this way don’t necessarily know where their ads will eventually show up (I’ve purchased ads through YouTube and Google myself, and can confirm that this is true. You don’t really know where your ad will run or be placed), but they can use exclusion filters to avoid having them appear on certain channels and kinds of content.
CNN says several brands expressed concern about the ads’ placement and said they have reached out to YouTube about the situation.