FEED Autumn 2022 Web

JD: Exactly. We’ve found tonnes of big brands, all over the internet, funding anything from straight-up racism to misogyny, to anti-LGBTQ content, to QAnon. In the UK during the pandemic, before O2 and Virgin Media merged, they were discovering that their own ads were found on sites saying that Covid-19 was caused by 5G. They were literally funding conspiracy theories against their own projects, which involved people burning down phone masts and threatening engineers. The fact that you don’t know where you ads are is inexcusable. It should be the responsibility of multibillion- pound brands to understand what their financial strategy is. Are they investing in the Great Replacement conspiracy theory? If you know, and do nothing about it, you’re complicit. If you do find out, you’ve got a decision to make. FEED: So, if I’m running that ad on my site, I’m earning money from that, no matter what extremist content I might be sharing?

FOR THE FUTURE Media Bounty aims to forge a new path for the advertising industry, by using its know-how to build a better world for all

FEED: What strategies can advertisers employ to combat that?

JD: The concept of brand safety has been around for some time, although it’s not quite conscious investment. You want to ensure that you’re not funding white supremacy. Or, in the case of Roe vs. Wade in the US, male supremacy. But you also want to make sure that you are consciously

funding diverse media channels. For example, there’s another problem with brands lazily using block lists, so they won’t have any advertising next to ‘muslim’, ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ – so vast swathes of the internet, including LGBTQ titles, have been demonetised.


FEED: As societies and economies become more unstable, how can businesses and advertisers be rethinking their role?

JD: I had my formative years in the nineties, which were an absolute cakewalk of economic stability, Britpop, rave culture and free university. My advice would be to really lean into these problems. They’re here to stay – we need to understand them properly. I’ve got ‘2030’ on my surfboard, because by then, my kids are going

to be 18 and 15. I want to look them in the eye when they start asking me: ‘Dad, what did you do about this?’ And I won’t have to answer: ‘I made a lot of money from an oil company and made them look good.’ It’s about examining our values. What it means to be human, how our friendships look, what families mean to us – and acting accordingly.


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