Almost eight out of ten (78%) online users would view a brand negatively if its advertising appeared next to offensive content online.

A survey by research consultancy iCD Research found that 40% of consumers thought advertisers should be held responsible if their ad appeared next to offensive or inappropriate content. Next in line was the site on which the ad appeared, held by 25% to be responsible, followed by the ad agency by 23%.

The research follows a spate of ad misplacement issues for brands such as Orange, T-Mobile and ING Direct.

It also found global drinks brand Coca-Cola was the brand with the most reputation to lose from appearing next to offensive or inappropriate material, followed by Cadbury and Tesco. The brands were selected from the UK Superbrands list.

Nigel Gwilliam, head of digital at the IPA, said, "For brands, being next to hate material should always be avoided, that's an understanding in the industry.

"This is an issue for ad networks, because if brands feel there's a detrimental effect then that will impact on revenues. Networks and industry professionals are taking steps in the right direction," he added.

ICD surveyed 1,000 UK web users in June for the research.

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Published 28 August, 2008 by NMA Staff

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