The Trustworthy Accountability Group has launched an alert system for advertisers that will show when ads are run against illegal content on pirate sites in Europe.
Today’s launch of Project Brand Integrity comes after a similar scheme was launched by TAG in 2016 that is credited with reducing the number of impressions on US pirate content sites by more than 90% in two years.
White Bullet, a digital advertising assurance provider, will scan the top ad-supported pirate sites in Europe and provide TAG with evidence when a brand has appeared.
TAG will then privately contact the advertiser and/or its ad agency and alert them to the misplacements, while also providing education about anti-piracy tools to eliminate future risk.
The global organisation is also working with City of London Police and Europol to raise awareness of Project Brand Integrity.
In the UK, an estimated 6.5 million internet users (15% of users aged 12 and above) had downloaded illegal material last year, a Kantar Media report for the government's Intellectual Property Office found. Illegal downloads have remained stable since 2016, the report added, while the most popular illegal downloads are for TV shows (23%), sports content (21%) and software (20%).
Mike Zaneis, chief executive of TAG, said: "If you are a brand advertiser, the skull-and-crossbones isn’t just a pirate movie trope. It accurately reflects the toxic danger of associating your brand with stolen content and criminal activities on pirate sites."
TAG launched its Certified Against Fraud programme in 2016 to combat invalid traffic in the digital advertising supply chain. Last month, TAG released research that revealed fraud had reduced to less than 1% when advertisers use its certified media channels.