Campaign podcast: ethics, marketing pain, and performance anxiety

Bodyform: Campaign podcast discusses brand's new '#PainStories" campaign
Bodyform: Campaign podcast discusses brand's new '#PainStories" campaign

Conscious Advertising Network co-chair Jake Dubbins and O2's Laura Lesser talk about the ethical pitfalls brands must face and how to stop funding hate speech and misinformation through ads.

This week, Omar Oakes and Brittaney Kiefer discuss whether the BBC is right to put BBC Three back on "normal" TV, Bodyform's new ad campaign about women's "pain stories", Airbnb's decision to spend less on performance marketing and what impact the new media app Clubhouse is having.

Then Omar speaks to Media Bounty managing director Jake Dubbins and O2 head of culture and innovation Laura Lesser about the work of the Conscious Advertising Network. They explain how advertisers may unwittingly fund hate speech and misinformation, how both ad-funded tech platforms and the open web must be reformed, and how brands should hold themselves and media agencies to account.

"The system is the problem," Dubbins said, referring to the fact that ads are often autmatically bought against unmoderated content on user-generated tech platforms.

"None of these platforms were set up with ethics by design… We’re all doing this in the absence of adequate regulation. Fortunately we have Ofcom to look at broadcast media and hopefully soon they’ll be over[seeing] the internet as well. There should be less automation and more human due diligence on what is monetised and the sorts of ads."

Lesser revealed that O2 holds regular monthly meetings with key people from the brand and its agencies, including its media buyer, Havas Media, and gives itself a rating based on CAN's six manifestos

O2 was itself the victim of disinformation last year when its phone masts were targeted by people who apparently believed that 5G transmitters were fuelling the spread of Covid-19. 

She added: "[Havas Media] are our experts to make sure we keep up-to-speed with the pace of change in he industry. We expect them to make sure they are sharing insights about how we can make more ethical and positive investments and making sure they’re working with other patterns like Ebiquity and Intergral Ad Science. Havas has also set up a social equity marketplace which we’re looking forward to exploring more."

Running order (links to stories on Campaign's website):
2:00 BBC Three is going back on telly
5:40 Bodyform "#PainStories" (AMV BBDO)
13:30 Why Airbnb will spend less on performance marketing and why it matters
20:30 Clubhouse and how social media rivals are responding
28:00 Jake Dubbins and Laura Lesser interview

This episode was hosted by Campaign's media & technology editor Omar Oakes with creativity & culture editor Brittaney Kiefer and edited by Lindsay Riley.

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