Hatevertising: Brands Must be Political!

According to advertising expert Gerald Hensel, in times of fake news, brands must take a stand. He demands: no advertising on right-wing or anti-democratic websites. He initiated the hash tag #KeinGeldFürRechts (no money for the right).

An ISIS video on YouTube, with an advertising banner from the Guardian underneath – it's obvious to everyone that this is clearly not ok. In response, the Guardian retracted numerous adverts from the Google AdX advertising services, which also includes YouTube.

This example is only the tip of the iceberg. When researching, Hensel often comes across adverts on radical websites, which presumably most brands would not want there. That's why he initiated #KeinGeldFürRechts (no money for the right), and encourages his followers to screen-shot adverts found on questionable websites and to tweet them at the respective brands.

Most brands don't know where their adverts will end up, as advertising space is auctioned off and then placed via a fully automatic system. Only a few companies make use of the option to blacklist certain websites, so that their adverts no longer feature on them.

Most brands shift their responsibilities over to the big players Google and Facebook, whose advertising services make up 90 percent of digital advertising in Great Britain. Hensel calls upon brands to become political. They should decide themselves where their adverts end up, rather than relying on agencies. It's no longer enough just to blacklist illegal websites. Rather, each company must decide for itself, the context within which its advertising is seen and precisely where not.

By Johanna Kleibl and Christina Spitzmüller (EJS)

Photo credit: re:publica/Jan Zapper (CC BY-SA 2.0)