10 industry leaders discuss GARM three years on: Unilever, Meta and Google outline brand safety challenges ahead

From deep fakes to metaverse misinformation, how can the performance marketing industry counteract incoming threats from new technology and geo-political upheaval?

10 industry leaders discuss GARM three years on: Unilever, Meta and Google outline brand safety challenges ahead

At a glitzy Cannes anniversary event this week, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) marked three years as a defender of brand safety in a new digital world. 

The organisation was launched at the festival with 16 founding partner companies in 2019. 

GARM now has 122 members, including 61 advertisers, six agency holding companies, 11 media platforms, nine ad tech companies and 35 industry associations. 

This week, GARM announced a series of new guidelines which included new adjacency standards for Feed, Stories, In-stream Video, In-stream Audio and Display overlay to help ensure brand safety is built into new metaverse spaces prior to monetisation.

It marked this anniversary with an event on the WPP Beach on 21 June at 3pm, designed to highlight what’s been achieved to date but also where the critical challenges of brand safety in the digital space now lie.

Speakers included Rankin Carroll, lead CMO at Mars, Debbie Weinstein, VP YouTube & Google Video Global Solutions, Krystal Oliveri, Global Chief Innovation Officer at GroupM, and Rich Raddon, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Zefr.

Looking back over the past three years, and ahead to the next decade, PMW spoke to 10 industry leaders to get their views on the future challenges of brand safety and how GARM, and the wider industry, can counteract the threats of the future, from deep fakes to metaverse misinformation.

Luis Di Como EVP Global Media at Unilever: “As a founding member of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, we are delighted to see the progress that’s been made over the last three years. When we launched GARM, we didn’t even have common definitions for harmful content! Since then, we have agreed common definitions, a shared framework to assess progress, and we’re now introducing new guidelines on misinformation and adjacency standards.” 

Joe Barone, Brand Safety Lead, Americas, GroupM: “Chief among the impressive list of GARM accomplishments is the publishing of the Misinformation category to the Brand Suitability Framework. GroupM looks forward to the immediate impact this step will have in driving increased transparency, verification, and mitigation of Misinformation, which has long been a major nemesis of brand safe, credible media environments.” 

Bob Liodice, CEO at ANA: “Meeting the challenges posed by society and sustainability are key goals of the ANA’s 12-point Growth Agenda.  The GARM guidelines provide brands with essential recommendations on how to achieve those objectives while also effectively addressing the double-edged issues of brand safety and misinformation. These are important new tools that every marketer should adopt.” 

Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA: “The Aggregated Measurement Report provides brand owners with critical assurance on the safety of platforms for users. It’s encouraging that platforms continue to step up their transparency reporting efforts and that the leaders are now holding themselves accountable through independent audit.” 

Marla Kaplowitz, CEO, 4A’s: “The 4A’s and its APB (Advertiser Protection Bureau) are proud to continue supporting the expansion of GARM into critical areas including live-streaming and the metaverse. We applaud the global impact and scale of partners working together to address media responsibility in an increasingly fragmented and complex ecosystem.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, VP Global Business Group at Meta: "Since its founding in 2019, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media has demonstrated that industry can come together to meaningfully address the challenge of harmful content online. Meta’s commitment to safety and partnering across the industry is unwavering — from our significant investments in safety, platform controls and third-party verification. We look forward to continuing this progress in the years to come.” 

Debbie Weinstein, Vice President, YouTube & Video Global Solutions, Google: “Responsibility is our top priority. Through our longstanding partnership with GARM, we’ve made significant progress towards building a more sustainable and healthy digital ecosystem for everyone. We commend GARM on these latest milestones and continued commitment to develop industry-wide standards to keep consumers, creators and advertisers safe online.”  

Sarah Personette, Chief Customer Officer, Twitter: "Keeping people and brands safe online continues to be of critical importance. We are proud to be working with the GARM community to help the ad industry make meaningful contributions toward those ends. This latest step to combat the monetisation of misinformation and create common standards and definitions related to brand suitability will be critical in creating a safe environment for everyone." 


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