Tourism New Zealand called out for ad on Breitbart, responds by blacklisting the site

Tourism New Zealand has been called out for allowing its ads to appear on the Breitbart news site, which is largely seen as a mouthpiece for the alt-right.

Twitter user Oliver Gerber tweeted at the organisation asking it to blacklist the site to avoid this from happening in the future. 

Within the Tweet, Gerber includes instructions on how the organisation could go about blacklisting undesirable websites.

Gerber has dedicated his Twitter account exclusively to social media activism, calling out brands that advertise on the site.

This comes at a time when Breitbart needs all the advertisers it can get, with an Independent report claiming that 935 companies have pulled support from Breitbart in response to the grassroots social media activism campaign, Sleeping Giants.

Over the last few months, there have also been high-profile brand departures, with Kellogg’s, BMW and Lufthansa publicly severing ties with the organisation.

Update: Tourism New Zealand general manager of communications Deborah Gray says the organisation has asked its agency to exclude the Breitbart site from its retargeting.

She explains that the only reason the ad appeared on the site was because the person visiting the site fell within Tourism New Zealand’s targeting indicators.     

“Like many advertisers, Tourism New Zealand uses online indicators to ‘find’ people who are already considering New Zealand for a holiday, based on their searches and sites visits,” Gray says. “Once found, we retarget them by using programmatic technology to deliver advertising to them when they are on other sites. So we find a person through their activity on New Zealand-related sites, then reach them again when they are on other sites.”

She also added that not everyone visiting the site would’ve seen the advertising. 
“The appearance of the 100% Pure New Zealand on Breitbart is an outcome of this, where we target the person not the site. Any person to see our advert is a person who has previously indicated an interest in visiting New Zealand.”

To ensure brand safety, digital media agencies often compile long blacklists of sites that they prefer not to have their clients associated with. However, due to the infinite nature of the internet, it’s virtually impossible to ensure that every nefarious site is excluded.

That said, Tourism New Zealand is now one of over 900 brands whose ads will not appear on the alt-right site.   

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