This is a special one, folks. It’s our 24th issue of BRANDED. It has been just over 1 year since we launched this newsletter. Happy birthday to us! Stay with us for a BIG SURPRISE at the end. ????
But first, can we brag a little? We started BRANDED with zero expectations. It seems like everyone has a newsletter these days. What would make ours special anyway?
Well, our newsletter ended up rocketing from 0 to 7000 subscribers… and helped us shape a year of international coverage on the advertising industry:
We partnered with the smartest industry minds to break stories on adtech secrets:
We became the loudest advocates in the adtech industry for the news industry:
We launched our first-of-a-kind company, Check My Ads! ???? , providing brand safety training for global brands, agencies, and ad exchanges.
We made headlines with Sleeping Giants.
We helped the world make sense of the Facebook ad boycott:
We thought leadershipped:
We started doing interviews together ????♀️:
We led direct action work that led to direct results:
And just in the past two weeks...
Our newsletter became a platform for change and started to move the needle in the industry… and then this month, there was a coup.
We don’t know what you saw that day, but what we saw was years of ad industry negligence come to life. Our advertising dollars have been fueling disinformation and extremism, and we finally saw the outcome play out in real life on Capitol Hill on January 6th.
It is still too easy to make money online creating disinformation and chaos. And it’s still too easy for our ad dollars to fund it. This isn’t just a brand or reputational risk anymore. It’s a risk to public safety and our democracy — and that means it’s everyone’s business.
For the first time, shareholders at two publicly-held companies are filing resolutions compelling them to check their ads to see whether their budgets are being funneled towards extremism.
“Advertisers are not passive bystanders when they inadvertently finance harm,” they wrote. Their spending influences what content appears online.”
That urgency is what's driving us to our next big launch.
For the past year, we’ve been talking mostly to the industry. But the adtech industry needs the full weight of public scrutiny for us to create change at the speed we’re looking for. That’s why we’re launching a podcast this year.
We’re going to be talking about how the ad industry is financing extremism and it’s going to be… well, it’s going to be really fun, honestly. This is a heavy subject and we know how to bring this issue to the public.
Do you want to advertise on this podcast? Great! You don’t have to visit any ad exchange or media agency. Just hit reply on this email. The first 5 sponsors who come in higher than $19,999 get an entire episode to themselves.
If you’re saying “OMG! SEND ME SPONSORSHIP DEETS!” send us a quick message and we’ll get right on that. And if you’re not in the position to sponsor, please pass along the word!
As always, thank you for reading,
Claire & Nandini
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Check My Ads Institute is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.