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09 August 2018

Mars Latest Advertiser To Pull YouTube Spend Over Brand Safety Fears

Mars has become the latest major advertiser to pull advertising from YouTube over concerns around brand safety. 

The confectionery giant announced the move after one of their brands was shown alongside drill rap music videos which have been linked to violence in London by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

An advert for Starburst sweets was shown before a video of drill group Moscow17. One of Moscow17 members was fat­ally stabbed last week, The Sun reported

A spokeswoman for Mars said: "It is unacceptable and disappointing to see one of our brands advertised alongside this video content.

"This clearly breaches our brand safety guidelines and Mars adverts should never run alongside such content.

"We have taken the action to remove all our online advertising on YouTube and can confirm we are working with Google and our media buying agencies to understand what went wrong.

"Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube."

According to The Sun, Mars Inc spent around £5 million advertising on YouTube last year. Other companies including Dettol and Clearblue pregnancy tests have also stated that they would review their spending with the Google-owned website.

Major advertisers including Unilever's chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed and Procter & Gamble’s Marc Pritchard have voiced concerns about brand safety and transparency in the digital environment. 

A 2017 Times investigation found adverts for global brands appearing without their knowledge on YouTube videos created by supporters of terrorist groups.

The investigation prompted market-leading global brands to pull millions of pounds in ad spend from digital channels as well as an outcry from politicians from all the main parties calling on the tech giants to do more to police inappropriate content being distributed on their platforms.