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Havas freezes entire Google and YouTube ad spend in the UK

Tyrone Stewart

French multinational advertising company Havas has decided to pull its entire Google and YouTube ad spend in the UK, as the placement of ads next to offensive content continues to be an issue.

The decision, which Havas chairman and CEO Yannick Bollore said he was unaware of, was made by Havas UK and does not have any bearing on the rest of the group.

“We have a duty of care to our clients in the UK marketplace to position their brands in the right context where we can be assured that that environment is safe, regulated to the degree necessary and additive to their brands’ objectives,” said Paul Frampton, chief executive and country manager for Havas UK, in a statement. “Our position will remain until we are confident in the YouTube platform and Google Display Network’s ability to deliver the standards we and our clients expect.”

Havas UK follows in the footsteps of the UK government, The Guardian, L’Oréal, Channel 4, Transport for London, and the Financial Conduct Authority, in suspending Google and YouTube advertising. The decisions of these organisations coincided with the UK government summoning Google to provide an explanation for the placement of ad next to offensive content. To all of which, Google said, via a blog post from UK managing director Ronan Harris, that it would work harder to prevent the “small percentage” of ads appearing in the wrong places.