Brands4News.org launches in support of crisis journalism
A new global collective of advertising executives has founded Brands4News.org, a site dedicated to providing marketers with open-source resources to allow brands to continue supporting quality journalism during crises.
Crisis moments, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Covid pandemic, and even social and civil rights issues like the signaled rollback of abortion rights in the US, often lead to major readership spikes for online publications that significantly intensify their reporting during upheavals in the news cycle.
However, Brands4News.org notes that many brands reduce or halt their advertisements on crisis-related content during these periods as a caution against associating their brand with certain sensitive topics or issues.
The collective argues that this creates a perverse incentive for publications that rely on advertising income to report less on key issues, lest they be willing to sacrifice significant advertisement revenue.
To combat such behavior, resources collated by Brands4News.org include two main open-source offerings: creative ad templates designed to run against crisis-related news content and lists of news websites that can be used by brands to easily advertise on high quality trusted publications during a crisis.
The former will allow brands to responsibly display their brand assets (such as logos) prominently while also signaling a clear messaging strategy.
The latter list of trusted news publications identified by Brands4News.org at launch includes:
The 27 websites were selected due to their label of ‘trusted’ granted to them by not-for-profit The Global Disinformation Index.
Brands4News is also launching with a direct focus on supporting content related to Ukraine. Ad templates also exist in Ukrainian, and the collective is providing a separate list of 18 mainstream Ukrainian news outlets that it pleads “desperately need financial support to continue their reporting.”
Together, the Ukrainian sites generate over 550 million visits per month and the global sites generate over 3 billion.
Initiated and self-funded by Ruben Schreurs (pictured, below), chief product officer at ad services company Ebiquity, Brands4News.org began with a public request for support in March and has quickly grown to 14 pro bono contributors, including four Ukrainian citizens.
One such citizen, Dmitry Gnatiuk, Brands4News.org’s Creative Production Lead, created all HTML5 banner templates during the evenings from a shelter in Kyiv.
Schreurs stated: “I am amazed by the incredible dedication of the people that helped bring this to life. Our shared conviction is that free, truthful, and high-quality journalism is a vital foundation of a sustainable global society. We have delivered something we believe can help support quality journalism now, and in the future, and we hope to see brands allocate a part of their advertising budgets to this cause.
“Our call for support still stands and we welcome anyone that would like to contribute to our effort. We are also eager to receive feedback and requests with regards to the creative templates and domain inclusion lists, as we have made a start but by no means consider our work perfect or finished.”