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Advertising Brand Safety

Unite signs Conscious Advertising Network manifesto in trade union first


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 10, 2019 | 2 min read

Unite has become the first major trade union to put its name to the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) manifesto, a commitment to ensure ad spend does not fuel hate speech or divisive messages.


Unite signs Conscious Advertising Network manifesto in trade union first

The moral move was made at the TUC conference in Brighton alongside Barking and Dagenham Council which has also thrown its weight behind the initiative which seeks to divert advertising budgets away from content deemed to be contributing to schisms in society.

This follows several high-profile scandals in which advertisers have unwittingly found themselves standing alongside far-right material, homophobic content and fake news.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “It’s easy for companies and ad agencies to operate block lists to ensure they don’t advertise on websites promoting hate speech, but most don’t. If more advertisers considered where their adverts were landing, then we would have fewer examples of them featuring on far-right news outlets.”

The CAN manifesto focusses on fake news, diversity, consent, hate speech, ad fraud and children’s welfare by directing advertisers and agencies to take steps to circumvent inappropriate content.

Last year Virgin Trains backtracked after banning the Daily Mail from sale after judging the title to go against its brand values.

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