Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover was forced to temporarily suspend all its digital advertising activity earlier this week after discovering that its campaigns were placed on numerous websites holding extremist views.
The car maker made the unusual move as part of a scheduled review of its various procurement procedures, but the issue came to light in a recent news story in the The Times newspaper.
Campaign magazine reports that, once the news of its concern reached the public domain, the luxury car maker decided on a one-day suspension of all its digital activities as part of its internal “online brand verification and brand safety processes.”
By way of an example, The Times discovered advertisements for the car maker’s latest F-Pace model had appeared alongside an pro-Islamic State video on Youtube. According to the newspaper the video had been viewed more than 115,000 times before it had been taken down.
Digital advertising is now big business and reputations are at stake if products and brands are seen in an unflattering light or perceived to be endorsing particular political views or individuals.
Jaguar Land Rover’s operation is considerable; Campaign reports that in 2015 it moved its entire global digital ad business to Spark44, a joint venture in which the car maker holds a 50 percent stake. The current global review into the firm’s media procurement policies is expected to take at least six months.
Commenting on the situation, a Jaguar Land Rover spokesman said: "This review is in accordance with Jaguar Land Rover's usual sourcing best practice and reflects the company's commitment to conduct business in an open and fair way.
"Jaguar Land Rover considers its suppliers to be integral to business success. Our supplier relationships help us to develop products that surprise and delight our customers and deliver our brand visions."