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Brief Published: 24 Jan 2020

Google, Mars, Lego & More Close Ranks on Harmful Content

World Economic Forum 2020

At the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos, Switzerland, 39 leading advertising brands, creative agencies, and online distributors have announced an alliance to cut off harmful online content from advertising funding.

Through The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), companies such as Google, Lego, Procter & Gamble, Diageo, PepsiCo, Facebook, Adidas, Mars, Unilever, Havas and Dentsu articulated their main goals:

  • Reaching a consensus on what harmful content is, i.e. explicit material, drugs, spam, racism and terrorism
  • Developing tools that allow better control over where media spend is going, and avoid messages appearing in association with harmful content
  • Establishing measurement standards so marketers can assess their success in blocking, demonetising, and removing harmful content

These are objectives we would expect brands to already be working on, so it's encouraging to see them affirmed on a global stage. The alliance represents $97bn annual global ad spend – the threat of that money drying up may actually bring about substantial change in the attention economy.

"It's time to create a responsible media supply chain that is built for the year 2030," said P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard. Among US consumers, 59% think emerging technologies have the potential to harm society (Salesforce, 2019). Companies will have to pursue strategies to combat those fears. Taking decisive action to earn back trust in the platforms they use for advertising will be a fundamental contribution from brands.

For more on this, check out Digital Detoxification, part of our Human Tech Macro Trend.