Introducing the Conscious Advertising Network

January 6, 2020

New year's resolutions are clearly in full swing. It's been so long since I updated this blog, it's clearly time to dust off the cobwebs and highlight The Conscious Advertising Network, the initiative I co-chair that launched in June. Here's an excerpt from an article Jake Dubbins and I wrote in September. The full version of this article can be found on on CreativeBrief Bite.




Ask most CMOs if they want their advertising to appear next to hate speech, or to fund damaging fake news, and the answer would be an emphatic, NO. Ask them whether they’d be happy for half of their programmatic ad spend to be lost to fraud, effectively lining the pockets of shady, criminal organisations, and the answer would be more emphatic still.

Yet, that’s the state of the advertising industry today. The ad money that we insist should be helping us to reach customers in the moments that matter, is not fulfilling its promise. The waste is chronic and trust in our industry is in terminal decline.


The Conscious Advertising Network is on a mission to help the ethics catch up with the technology of modern advertising. We believe by tackling six key issues, we can create more efficient advertising that’s better for everyone. We’ve convened experts to write manifestos on six topics: children’s welfare, consent, diversity and inclusion, fake news, ad fraud, and hate speech.

Our ask is simple; that advertisers embed our principles in all RFPs and inform us of their progress every six months. Our manifestos signpost to existing initiatives, from the IAB Gold Standard, to UN definitions of hate speech as well as suggesting practical steps organisations can take to rid advertising of some of its unintended consequences.


At the heart of doing brand purpose effectively is the principle of consistency. A purpose is something which, when done well, creates a framework that informs everything the brand does. By adopting the CAN principles, we hope to end advertising abuse by helping advertisers to ask the right questions of their suppliers. We can only realise this vision with the widespread support of the industry. #TogetherWeCan.

For more information, visit the Conscious Advertising Network website or email

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