TAG Today - April 2023

In this month's newsletter:





Earlier this month, TAG announced that it had joined forces with Alianza, a leading anti-piracy alliance of content creators, and White Bullet Solutions to expand its successful Project Brand Integrity (PBI) initiative against ad-supported piracy into Latin America.

PBI was created in 2019 to protect brands from association with pirated content by alerting advertisers or their agencies when their ads ran on pirate sites that infringe intellectual property (IP) across Europe. As reported in March 2023,, the average advertiser in Europe reduced their monthly advertising spend on pirate sites by 89% and 86% of contacted advertisers reduced their ad impressions on IP-infringing sites during the same period thanks to contact and engagement by TAG.

“No brand wants to be associated with pirated content, and Project Brand Integrity helps provide an early warning system to alert responsible advertisers to such misplacements, so they can take appropriate action to protect their brands and their investments,” said Nick Stringer, TAG’s VP Global Engagement and Operations. “We know this collaborative approach is effective and scalable, thanks to the proven track record of PBI in Europe. TAG is excited to expand PBI with our partners in Latin America, so we can take bold action to cut off the money to the criminals who profit from ad-supported piracy and continue to help advertisers increase their ad spend power.”

Through this expansion, PBI will help advertisers and their agencies in Latin America avoid brand risk and damage by association with illegal pirate websites. White Bullet will scan the top sites that infringe Alianza’s member’s IP in Latin American markets, identifying any ads from reputable brands appearing on such sites. 

When a brand has notable ad exposure on infringing sites, White Bullet will notify TAG and provide an evidence package, including screenshots and the advertising code. TAG will privately contact the advertiser and/or its advertising agency and alert them to the ad misplacements, so they can take remedial action. TAG and Alianza also will educate advertisers/agencies about effective anti-piracy tools to reduce or eliminate future risks, including those in TAG’s Brand Safety Certified Program.

The announcement received broad press coverage across Latin America, including articles in Crónicas Económicas, Prensario Interational, iPuntoTV, PRODU, Tecnogus, Technoymas, Entorno Digital, and Noticias Súper.



Earlier this week, the TAG Transparency Working Group welcomed a special guest speaker, Ander Lopez Ochoa, EMEA Head of Digital, Content, Media, & eCommerce Marketing for Kenvue, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The following is a condensed version of Ander’s conversation with Adrian Lacey, TAG’s Director of Standards and Policy and TAG TrustNet Lead, on the industry’s challenges around transparency and the benefits of the TAG Certified for Transparency Program.

What is required to improve transparency in the digital ad ecosystem?

As an advertiser, I want to be able to take control of the data and then decide where I want to advertise. As media becomes more complex, reconciliation has been a massive issue. Reconciliation is a factor of timing, and reconciliation is also a factor of granularity of data, which ultimately can only come through log-level data. 

We need to be able to capture the data, reconcile it, and do it all quickly at scale. I don't want to wait nine months to go to my CFO to tell them we need to change our media strategy because of something we should have realized months earlier. They're asking us to report in real time, and we need things to be fast.


How do you expect brands like J&J and Kenvue to do that reconciliation in future? Put another way, what would make the data useful to you?

We can categorize those needs in three different buckets: standards, quality, and a process to get there.

We start from standards. There's a lack of standards in how the reconciliation of log-level data should be implemented, and ultimately TAG is trying to address this, which is fantastic. We need to standardize how those log-level files should be structured, so we can reconcile them easily. And there are contractual obligations around what, how, and with whom such data can be shared, so that process is going to take some time. We need an industry solution and standard like the one proposed by TAG that helps us address those components and that will help drive scale.

The second thing is quality. The purest quality data is log-level data. When you want to address an issue, you go to your logs, but we've seen that even a log file can be manipulated, so we need a solution that can prove that the log data is accurate and verifiable. This can be done through blockchain technology. I’m a massive fan of blockchain technology, because it offers a ledger that drives a viewable truth that is immutable and cannot be changed.

The third piece is how to do it at scale, and for us it's about automation, scaling, and capability to match across the whole ecosystem.


Access to quality harmonized data can bring benefits for the whole industry both short-term and long-term. What are some of the benefits that you see that greater transparency might bring for the industry?

Obviously, there would be faster reconciliation. I don't want to wait 90 days or two months to be able to make decisions. But beyond that, there are two use cases that I’m really excited about.

The first and most obvious one is the optimum path to supply, so I can decide what that is based on its quality and the monetary value that gets delivered to the publisher. I also want to be able to connect my media mix studies to that reconciled log-level data. I want to be able to know exactly what I'm paying for and connect it to my measurement capabilities.


But what honestly excites me the most is payment disintermediation. When you think about the supply chain and the different hubs that money goes through, everyone in the industry is financing money because payment terms are so different across every step of the chain. You also get delays, as the same money is financed again and again and again.

With a solution that enables real reconciliation at scale, we can make payments faster. And if we can capture that excess financing cost across the whole supply chain, that can drive significant savings. If you implement this through distributed ledger, you might even be able to do that payment process through smart contracts at some point in the future.


As the TAG Certified for Transparency Program is deployed, what are the implications for companies that choose not to take part in that initiative?

If advertisers like ourselves are taking this seriously, then we are likely to dedicate more resources to places where we get transparency, including the companies that take part in this initiative. It’s increasingly clear that the big players will want to be involved in this effort, but I think that there’s an even bigger win for the smaller players, or the long tail, because they can benefit the most from optimization of the supply and faster speed of payment.



From “Referentes del Sector Audiovisual Se Unen Para Combatir la Financiación de la Piratería” in Crónicas Económicas

“La Alianza Contra la Piratería Audiovisual (Alianza), de la que forma parte Directv Latin America como una de las empresas fundadoras, se unió a una iniciativa internacional para trabajar en el desfinanciamiento de los sitios que retransmiten ilegalmente contenidos audiovisuales.” …

“En nuestra experiencia en el entorno digital, generalmente las marcas desconocen que con ciertas impresiones de publicidad digital están financiando involuntariamente servicios ilegales en la región”, dijo Jorge Bacaloni, presidente de Alianza y gerente regional Antipiratería de Vrio Corp, compañía que opera Directv Latin America, SKY Brasil y la plataforma de streaming DGO. “No hay ninguna iniciativa de la industria como el PBI en Latam, por lo que esperamos que tenga tanto éxito como en Europa”, agregó Bacaloni.

From “TAG Expands Latam Ad-Supported Privacy Fight ” in Advanced Television:

“Brands are generally unaware when their advertising is placed on piracy websites and that they are funding illegal activity, so outreach via TAG’s PBI is an effective way to raise awareness with agencies and brands helping them take steps to protect their digital ad supply chains,” said Peter Szyszko, White Bullet’s founder and CEO. 

“Expanding this programme to Latin America, with the expertise of Alianza, will benefit the local market in a positive way, supporting advertisers’ demands for more transparency, better return on ad spend and increased brand safety, whilst stopping revenues flowing to criminals.”

One more thing...

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We love it when TAG members highlight our work together to fight digital ad crime and improve transparency. Please send any TAG-related press releases, blogs, or other announcements to Andrew Weinstein at andrewwstn@gmail.com for review before release.


Topics: Blog