VICE study finds terms such as gay, Muslim, Asian most blacklisted by marketers

According to an 18 month investigation report shared by VICE, 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.

“VICE’s storytelling lends itself to the most diverse generations in history. Our content aims to accurately represent these young people while simultaneously promoting diversity and inclusion,” said Dominique Delport, global chief revenue officer & president of International, VICE. “Unfortunately, the improper use of keyword blacklists is counterproductive to this mission, resulting in unintended consequences. We hope more brands will join in this discussion and help set a new industry standard.”

To uphold inclusiveness throughout all of its content while simultaneously fostering brand safe environments, VICE has implemented Oracle Data Cloud’s contextual brand safety solution for video.Rather than assigning brand safety risk through keywords, VICE will now feed its content through the Oracle Data Cloud’s Contexual Intelligence platform to analyse subjects and themes. Based on a detailed analysis of the content, Oracle Data Cloud assigns a brand safety score.  Brands then have the option to allow or block their advertising from running alongside video based on the specific score for that content.

“Oracle Data Cloud’s Contextual Intelligence platform is designed to drive deeper understanding of many forms of content, and we’re excited to debut our Video Context solution with VICE,” said Andrew Smith, head of publisher Strategy for Oracle Data Cloud.

"For the first time in market, we are releasing technology that allows for advertising decisioning against in-stream video context, optimising the environment for pre-roll and mid-roll video advertising. Now in its third year, our collaboration with VICE has always explored new frontiers of our Contextual Intelligence technology, and we’re excited to continue to build on this legacy," he added.

VICE will begin testing the product on certain campaigns before the end of 2018.