Vice is calling on marketers and agencies to once again reassess keyword blocklists as new words have been added to advertisers’ do-not-buy lists amid the protests against racial injustice.
During its NewFront presentation on Wednesday, the company said brand marketers need to call upon their agencies to review and question the words that make up their blocklists. Over the past few weeks, the company notes that those words now include “George Floyd,” “protest,” and “Minneapolis.” And one agency that represents a large entertainment company sent a blocklist that even included "Black Lives Matter" and "Black people" the same week the corporation put out a statement of support for Black Lives Matter, said Marsha Cooke, senior VP, content and community strategy, Vice.
Vice said agencies need to rethink “antiquated practices of keyword blocklists, and instead look to more contextual-based solutions that better support journalism, while servicing our partners' needs for brand safety.”
Last year, Vice took a stance on unblocking words like “gay,” “fat,” “Muslim” and “transgender,” arguing that when marketers don’t want their ads juxtaposed with content containing those words and others it restricts the publisher’s ability to monetize content that promotes diversity and inclusion.
"We got your applause, but we didn’t see change," Cooke said. "The list just got longer."
According to internal analysis, Vice found that content related to George Floyd and the protests monetized at a rate of 57 percent lower than other news content.