“The world of digital advertising is a nightmarish joke,” he said during a panel discussion at the Cannes Lions. “Mark Zuckerberg’s first post about fake news, Facebook managed to serve an ad for fake news next to it. It’s a joke. It’s out of control. There are all sorts of creepy, borderline fraudulent middlemen, this thicket of strange companies, tracking pixels on everything. You couldn’t think of a more dangerous environment for a brand.”
In case there was any mistaking his position, Thompson added a further assessment: “a complete mess.”
“In terms of brand safety, you couldn’t think of a more dangerous environment,” he added. “A monster has been created.”
I asked Thompson whether he blames ad tech for the current situation. He said the entire digital media world is too premised on audience buying.
“The ecosystem that’s grown up is a strangely shaped thing,” he said. “It’s based on the idea that content doesn’t matter.”