During the three days, there were numerous topics of discussion covering all aspects of Brand Safety.

For me, three areas in particular stood out as key lessons to build on as we work towards creating a safer online advertising space:

Business imperatives

Brand Safety Week’s first ever session dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) made it clear that not only is Brand Safety a business imperative, but so too is the focus on DE&I within it.

There were stories told with great passion coupled with practical suggestions. For example, block lists are an essential element of preventing brands appearing next to unsuitable content, but the message not to let them become a blunt tool came across loud and clear. They need to be continually refined and updated to avoid unintended and unwelcome consequences such as blocking entire communities, demographics or categories such as news. A simple but valuable reminder.



Third party validation is gold

During a session with Rob Rakowitz, Initiative Lead for GARM, Luis Di Como, Executive Vice President Global Media for Unilever, stated the importance of independent verification in the brand safety space.

From someone overseeing one of the largest media budgets in the world, Di Como’s words carry great weight. They also reflect one of GARM’s three areas of strategic focus to ‘drive mutual accountability and independent verification and oversight’. Music to my ears as you can imagine, and clear recognition that the more transparent partners are willing to be about their brand safety practices, the more fertile the ground for trust and cooperation.


Brand safety is a complex journey – so travel with people you trust

We often want simple quick answers to complex long-standing issues. As with many things in life, there is no quick fix for brand safety. It’s not something that’s ever ‘done’, more a continuous journey. But throughout the event it was encouraging to see the desire and ambition to improve. Whether that was through the welcome focus on the safety of youngsters online, new industry initiatives, the evolution of suitability or dealing with misinformation, it was plain to see.

There are sensible activities companies should be engaged in and keeping up to date on the latest developments is one of them. That’s why working with partners that demonstrate brand safety is a high priority.


Since 2006, when ABC conducted the world’s first Brand Safety audit, the online advertising landscape has seen seismic shifts and as an industry we’ve made a great deal of progress – as summarised by Stephen Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

There’s clearly still plenty to do, but Brand Safety Week affirmed for me that global collaboration is key as our industry strives to enhance safety, transparency and trust in the online space.

Find out who we’ve audited to TAG’s Brand Safety standards