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As an agency that creates online advertising campaigns for charities, you’d expect us to care about the ethics of our work.

And of course, we do. But the truth is the advertising industry as a whole needs to do more. A lot more. And we at Platypus want to put structure around our desire to do ethical advertising.

That’s why we’ve signed up to be part of The Conscious Advertising Network (CAN). It’s a voluntary movement launched in November 2018 supported by ISBA in the UK. CAN’s goal is for the ethics in advertising to finally catch up with the technology.

The CAN manifesto’s ambitions are that:

  • Ad fraud (click fraud) should be eradicated
  • The industry and content it produces should be as diverse as we are
  • Neither hate speech nor deliberately misleading ‘fake news’ should be funded by brands
  • Consent should be informed and people seen as active participants in their online experience
  • As forms of advertising to or around children evolve, so should the safeguards to their wellbeing


The simple fact is that advertising funds the internet but onus doesn’t just lie with publishers to regulate content, agencies and brands alike need to take a stand next to their principles and force a change.

If charities and agencies like us across the supply chain aren’t open about how and where we’re spending money, then why would we expect others in the supply chain to address the issue? To put it simply, ethics and safety need to become variables in our calculations when reporting on our campaigns – we shouldn’t only be reporting on ROAS or CPAs.

We hope that by pledging our support, charities will come expect this framework to be followed by all their suppliers, from publishers, adtech, buyers and agencies and this will, in turn, encourage others to commit their support. There’s a lot to do but we’re starting the journey to embed CAN criteria in out company processes, internal policies, project guidelines and client briefs.

If you want to support CAN, have the conversation, commit, and be vocal. If we all do it, then we can change the tide.

If you’re in a position to pledge your support from your organisation, get in touch with CAN via their website or by emailing [email protected]

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