Why Republic of Media is making a commitment to the Conscious Ad Network

Simon Watson, Head of Digital


Everyone knows internet advertising can be cost-efficient, targeted and accountable which are a few reasons why, in 2019, £15.69bn was spent on digital advertising in the UK.

This figure is set to rise 11.1% this year, but despite its unrelenting importance in the media mix for most brands today, the medium remains fraught with challenges for brands to manoeuvre. With the prevalence of online fraud and non-brand-safe content, to name just a couple, digital advertising can be a minefield for brands unless the correct methodologies are applied to campaigns.

Republic of Media was born in the digital age and transparency sits at the heart of our agency ethos. This makes us acutely aware of the challenges faced to maintain the integrity of the brands we represent. Working with a number of third-party vendors to ensure our client’s adverts are served in fraud-free suitable environments is a crucial part of any activity we execute for them.

To further our commitment to our clients and the industry, we recently became members of the Conscious Ad Network (CAN) to ensure the highest ethical practices in a rapidly evolving landscape. As members we pledge to adhere to the ambitions of CAN, which are:


  • Ad fraud should be eradicated
  • The industry and content it produces should be as diverse as we are
  • Neither hate speech nor deliberately misleading ‘fake news’ should be funded by brands
  • Consent should be informed and people seen as active participants in their online experience
  • And, as forms of advertising to or around children evolve, so should the safeguards to their wellbeing


It’s all very well saying the above and placing a logo on your website, but putting it into practice is a different matter.

The recent worldwide response following the tragic death of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter movement provides an important case in point where following CAN principles meant we were able to help our clients navigate how and where they were seen in relation to publisher coverage on the topic.

Black Lives Matter was not something our clients wanted to ignore or avoid so negative keywords were not the answer. Semantic science enabled the identification of the content, context and tone of a page or website allowing us to avoid instances where violence was portrayed or any derogatory mentions were made, whilst allowing adverts to be served against content surrounding peaceful protests and discussion as well as history or educational contexts around the subject.

Simple brand safety measures could have been taken, however topics such as the above should instead favour brand suitability measures. Of course there’s hate speech and non-brand-safe content online, but there’s also content around positive change and diversity which shouldn’t be avoided, nor should the quality journalism behind it.

Initiatives and networks like CAN are playing an important role at helping our industry overcome the negative practices and perceptions that have been allowed to prevail too long. We’re fully behind it and believe for the sake of a £17bn industry more advertisers and agencies should follow suit.

To find out more, please visit https://www.consciousadnetwork.org/ or get in touch with us at contact@republicofmedia.co.uk. #TogetherWeCAN

ISBA - Conscious Ad Network (CAN)