The “Hannibal” executive producer has a message for major brands: “You’ve got a problem. Solutions are available.”
Today, Ad Age published an op-ed by Martha De Laurentiis, the chairman of the De Laurentiis Company and executive producer of Hannibal. Recently she joined with other members of the CreativeFuture Leadership Committee in launching a letter writing campaign directed at major advertisers whose ads routinely appear on pirate sites.
The companies receiving letters are all major brands, including automobile manufacturers, insurance companies, technology giants, major retailers, and wireless carriers, among others. The purpose of the letters is to make brands aware of the problem and available solutions. Each company also receives a list of vendors offering products and services that can help brands keep their good ads off bad sites.
From the article:
Dear Major Brands,
Please stop advertising on pirate websites that profit from stolen creative works. They harm individual creatives, and contribute nothing to the creative economy. It’s bad for our business, your brand, and audiences.
The Creative Community
My own show, Hannibal, was the fifth most stolen TV show during its first season on the air, despite being available for legal digital streaming the very next day. While I appreciate the enthusiasm of our fans, as executive producer I am responsible for all production costs for the show. Piracy directly affects my bottom line, including the wages for hundreds of cast and crewmembers.
De Laurentiis explains how pirate site operators make money, citing a recent study that estimates that the top 600 pirate sites generated $209 million from online advertising in a single year, and how a company’s ads may be inadvertently facilitating piracy.
To be fair, most advertisers are unaware that their ads appear on pirate sites. The complicated nature of the online ad market has, until recently, made it extremely difficult to track exactly where ads are placed. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to recognize the potential harm to a brand’s reputation, especially when ads can unintentionally end up on pirate sites or other unsavory sites.
The op-ed outlines what the CreativeFuture Leadership Committee hopes to achieve through their letter writing campaign:
Our message to advertisers is simple: One, you have a problem. Two, solutions are available. Three, we stand ready to applaud those companies that commit to fixing the problem, but are also prepared to call out advertisers that are unresponsive to our legitimate concerns.
You can read the entire op-ed here.