VICE changes blacklist policies to push for inclusivity in marketing

Following its study last year, VICE is now expanding its blacklist policy to encourage advertisers to be more inclusive. Marketers now no longer have the option to block keywords such as “gay”, “fat”, and “Muslim” in their media buys, said an article on The New York post.

The company is also taking away the option for marketers to blacklist content with words that points to any types of discrimination – including gender, sexual orientation, race and body shapes – in their media buys. In a statement to the media, the company urged marketers to reconsider what is brand safe, as blacklisting those key words has been preventing ads from running on articles that promote diversity and inclusion. Marketing has reached out to VICE for more comments.

Meanwhile, VICE is bringing standalone sites, ranging from food, music, tech fashion and youth, to, according to various media outlets. These sites include brands such as Munchies, Noisey, Broadly, Waypoint and Motherboard. The move to integrate is part of the global youth media company’s aim to provide an unified offering and streamline its editorial processes. The branding of the previously standalone sites will live on as individual content sections on as well as other channels such as podcasts and newsletters. Additionally, its website overhaul will also see a vertical video feature named Vice Stories that offers monetisation opportunities.

Recently in Singapore, Mediacorp has partnered with VICE to offer Singaporeans access to the latter’s curated video series on Toggle. In addition, Mediacorp will be the exclusive representative for all advertising sales in Singapore for
Shows featured will include the popular VICE Reports, The Cute Show, and 10 Questions You Always Wanted To Ask, alongside fashion title i-D, food channel MUNCHIES, technology channel MOTHERBOARD and more.

According to an 18 month investigation report shared by VICE last October, the term “gay” is one of the most flagged keywords on the blacklist; placing higher on the list than “rape”, “death”, “heroin” and “gun”. Meanwhile, other LGBTQIA descriptors including “transgender” and “bisexual” are placed higher on the list than “shooting”, “porn”, “killing”, “drugs”, and “war”.

Heritage and race terms including “Asian,” “Muslim” and “interracial” landed top spots on what VICE calls the “flawed brand safety” list and techniques that steer marketers away from important and necessary subjects including race, religion and LGBTQIA issues. It added that the use of keyword blacklists has reached an all-time high due to the unquestioning expectation of publishers to adhere to them.