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Whose responsibility is it to advertise responsibly?


By Preethi Ravi | Journalist

April 27, 2023 | 5 min read

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Are brands responsible for promoting sustainable consumption and financial literacy? Experts from Teads and Dentsu believe that by investing in education, transparency, sustainability, and influencer partnerships, brands can make a positive impact.

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Taking a responsible approach to advertising will create a more sustainable and positive ecosystem for all / TEADS

A study by Kantar revealed two disconnects: a value action gap on the consumer side and another value action gap on the corporate side. It found that only 17% of consumers in Asia Pacific actively make a choice to live a more responsible life, while 88% make decisions based on how brands are being responsible for the planet. Similarly, 70% of marketers said sustainability would be the most important thing for their role in the next five years, but only 35% of marketers have that responsibility for sustainability or social impact in their job.

This realization presents a vast opportunity for marketers to become game-changers and innovators, facilitating two-way communication to help brands and consumers make responsible decisions. “As marketers, we can use nudge theory to alter consumer consumption habits and encourage brands to innovate away from planned obsolescence,” says Dominic Powers, chief growth and innovation officer, Asia Pacific at Dentsu. This approach should be holistic and involve publishers, forming an ecosystem where marketers have a pivotal role in initiating change, he says. Catch up on the full session here.

At The Drum’s APAC Trends Briefing, the panel discussed how responsible advertising goes beyond just carbon footprint and sustainability. Responsible advertising also means being transparent and respectful towards consumers, allowing them to have control over their data and the ads they see. “By taking a responsible approach to advertising, we can build trust with consumers and create a more sustainable and positive ecosystem for all,” says Sam Pattison, managing director SEA at Teads.

He further adds that responsible advertising includes using appropriate types of imagery, supporting quality journalism, respecting the user, engaging in a way that allows them to decide what they’re consuming from an advertising standpoint, using cookieless data, measuring in new ways that are sustainable, and partnering with businesses and NGOs to foster change.

The panel discussed whether responsible advertising is just smart advertising or expensive. “It’s understandable that some brands may view responsible advertising as expensive, but it’s important to dispel the myth that these practices come at a high cost. In fact, there are often trade-offs that can be made to achieve both responsible advertising and cost-effectiveness,” adds Pattison.

“For example, focusing on metrics like attention rather than just impressions can lead to more efficient advertising campaigns that require fewer impressions to achieve the same level of engagement. This can ultimately lead to cost savings for the brand while also being more sustainable,” he adds.

The panel also discussed how marketers need to be brave and innovative and work with brands to change their communication, products and inform consumers about their responsibility of consuming responsibly. There are also challenges of incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) metrics in the Asian market, which requires a market-by-market basis approach. “Brands should speak to their agency and key vendors to ask for solutions in this space and test different options to avoid getting left behind,” says Powers.

There are several things that brands can do to address the issue of the education gap when it comes to financial literacy and responsible consumption. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Invest in financial education programs: collaborate with financial education organizations to develop programs that educate consumers on how to manage their finances effectively, including topics like budgeting, saving, and investing. This could be in the form of workshops, online courses, or even mobile apps that provide financial education
  2. Provide transparent information: be transparent about products and services, including information on pricing, fees, and other hidden costs. This will help consumers make informed decisions about their purchases
  3. Develop sustainable products: focus on developing sustainable products that are designed to last longer, use less resources, and have a lower impact on the environment. This will encourage responsible consumption and reduce waste
  4. Partner with influencers: collaborate with influencers and social media personalities to promote responsible consumption and financial literacy. These influencers can use their platforms to share tips and advice on managing finances effectively and promoting sustainable products and services.

To learn more about the impact of responsible advertising has on the environment, on the people who view it and on the publishers who create it, check out the full session on The Drum TV.

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Teads APAC

Teads operates a leading, cloud-based, end-to-end technology platform that enables programmatic digital advertising across a global ecosystem of quality digital media. As an end-to-end solution, Teads’ modular platform allows partners to leverage buy-side, sell-side, creative, data and AI optimization technologies.

For advertisers and their agencies, Teads offers a single access point to buy the inventory of many of the world’s best publishers. Through exclusive global media partnerships, Teads enables advertisers and agencies to reach 1.9 billion unique monthly users* in brand safe, responsible advertising environments, while improving the effectiveness and efficiency of digital ad transactions.

Teads partners with the leading marketers, agencies and publishers through a team of over 1,000 people in 30 countries. For more information, visit:

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