AdWords AdWords controversy: AdWords: Why I am boycotting the adwords campaign
The AdWords advertising agency says it has found itself under fire for what it says are inaccurate and misleading ads in the search advertising campaign.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation after the ad group discovered the ads appeared to target a large number of users with poor English skills.
“We have found that a number of the ads contained misleading and offensive language that is not intended to benefit anyone,” said an ASA spokesperson in a statement to CBC News.
“Our investigation has identified three ads which appear to target users with low or moderate proficiency in English, with a low proficiency rate.
The ASA is also investigating whether there was a failure to ensure that the ads were not misleading and did not discriminate based on language or age.””
While we are not aware of any evidence of wrongdoing, we have made this finding after extensive review of our research, as required by our Code of Conduct.”
The ASA is also investigating whether there was a failure to ensure that the ads were not misleading and did not discriminate based on language or age.
“There is no evidence that these adverts were intentionally misleading or that any of the targeting methods used were intended to discriminate on the basis of language or language ability,” the ASA spokesperson said.
AdWords has been criticised for its use of the term “cannabis” in its search results.
The term is commonly used in the medical community as a way of identifying a patient who is likely to be addicted to cannabis.
In the case of the adverts targeted at English speakers, the agency said it found that the words were clearly written and clearly identified as such.
“It was not a clear and unambiguous reference to cannabis,” the agency spokesperson said in a written statement.
The ASA also said the ads did not appear to have been placed by the ad agency in order to “target individuals with low proficiency in the English language or who are not English speakers”.
“These were targeted in a way that did not reflect the agency’s policy on using adwords, which is to promote the use of adwords to enhance the effectiveness of its ad campaign,” the spokesperson said.
“We are confident in the accuracy of the material we have found, and are committed to ensuring that our campaigns remain focused on the purpose for which they were created, and that all our campaigns are appropriate and relevant to the context and needs of the campaign they are intended to target.”
The spokesperson said the ad was not placed by any ad agency.
In a statement posted to its website, AdWords said it has received numerous complaints about the ads, and is reviewing them.
“AdWords does not and has never intentionally target any person based on their language proficiency, regardless of whether they are English speakers or not,” the company said in the statement.
“When we learn of an error in an ad that appears to target English speakers in order for us to target them, we immediately suspend the ad.”
AdWords is also working with Google to fix the ads.
The spokesperson added that the ASA investigation will be completed in the coming weeks.