Google ‘sorry’ for brand safety crisis, says EMEA president Matt Brittin | M&M Global

Google ‘sorry’ for brand safety crisis, says EMEA president Matt Brittin

Google’s EMEA president Matt Brittin has apologised for the brand safety scandal engulfing its YouTube platform, and said it is “accelerating” its review into internal procedures.

AWE Matt Brittin Keith Weed
Advertising Week Europe: Matt Brittin (left) and Keith Weed

A number of advertisers and agencies, including the British government, HSBC, retailer Marks & Spencer and Havas UK, have pulled all spend from YouTube following reports that ads have been appearing against extremist content.

Speaking to Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed at Advertising Week Europe in London, Brittin opened the session by stating he was “sorry” for the discomfort currently being felt by advertisers and agencies.

While insisting only a “handful” of impressions had been seen alongside extremist content, representing “pennies not pounds”, he admitted that Google needs to “improve”.

“Our policies work in the vast majority of cases. But we have a review underway on how we can improve. Last week we went public. We’re now accelerating that review,” he added.

Brittin was repeatedly asked by UK newspaper journalists over the potential for Google to dedicate resources to seeking out extremist content, but was reluctant to confirm if this was the case.

However, he insisted the company would “raise the bar” in a number of areas, including having a higher level of “default” brand safety, and making the controls simpler for advertisers to understand.

Weed was asked if Unilever would be suspending its own advertising on YouTube, but said he would not “negotiate publicly”.

He added: “Don’t think for a second we’re not having the right conversations. We are tracking the situation right now. As yet we have not been affected.”

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