MIAMI-A group of 4A’s member agencies is banding together under the aegis of the organization’s new Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB) to collectively monitor the environments in which their clients’ advertisements appear. The APB establishes a process in which risky environments are flagged and then investigated by agency-client teams.

Announced today at the 4A’s Accelerate conference, the APB “came up as a very natural discussion around something that we call the code of decency,” Louis Jones, EVP, Media & Data at the 4A’s, says in this interview with Beet.TV. “There ought to be a base level for brand safety.”

Founding members of the APB include executives from Dentsu Aegis Network, GroupM, Havas Media, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands, MDC Partners, Omnicom Media Group and Publicis Media. Each holding company—as well as Horizon Media—has committed to dedicating a Brand Safety Leader within its network to serve on the bureau.

“We are creating a database where everybody can report in and say, ‘Hey, I’m the person from Dentsu Aegis and I just saw some of your Publicis brands in places where you don’t want them,” Jones says. “And then that information gets shared so that everyone can collectively act and keep every brand potentially, every major brand in the marketplace, safe.”

The formation of the APB is the first step in a list of actions that nearly 100 4A’s members and industry leaders “outlined and rallied around” at the Advertising Assurance Forum, a closed-door event hosted by the 4A’s on March 19, according to a 4A’s release.

Additional next steps outlined under the Advertising Assurance initiative include:

• Develop a risk management module. The APB will work with advertisers to 
develop categorizations of risk across a spectrum from most safe to least safe.

• Create a code of decency. Working with the Media Rating Council, Inc., APB agencies will help establish a set of ground rules that align baseline expectations for safety through a new set of standards within the MRC’s Brand Safety Guidelines, currently in initial draft. “Down the road, media agencies will also work with the MRC to identify efforts and methodologies to mitigate fake news,” states the 4A’s release.

• Educate the ecosystem. The APB will develop an industry playbook that will include new standards, metrics, methodologies and tools to combat unsafe environments for both brands and consumers.

Working with the MRC will help agencies understand “what are all the things we can do as an industry, from a perspective of how can technology be better, how can it be more specific, what is the role that human intervention plays in terms of understanding levels of risk and inappropriateness,” Jones says.

This video is part of a series titled The Road to the Digital Content NewFronts. It is a preview of topics to be explored at IAB’s NewFronts, which begin on April 30. This series is presented by Meredith Corporation. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.