Ad Fraud is on the Rise – but Cinema Remains One of the Safest Forms of Advertising

Ad fraud manifests in many different shapes and forms – from pixel stuffing and ad stacking to fake social media profiles and bots, among others.


Ad fraud is a topic that is less discussed, especially in this region. It is a major threat faced by the digital advertising landscape; we are talking about a multi-billion-dollar industry thriving on deceptive tactics that dupe marketers and agencies every year. According to Statista, ad fraud consumed more than US$80B in ad spend in 2022 and US$84B in 2023 – if the cost of global digital ad fraud were human, it would be the ninth richest person in the world.

So, what is ad fraud? Ad fraud refers to the intentional deception or manipulation of online advertising metrics, such as clicks, impressions, or conversions, to generate false revenue or traffic. Online scammers use various techniques to achieve this, including pixel stuffing (hiding pixels within ads invisible to viewers) and ad stacking (overlaying multiple ads, obscuring each other). Fake social media profiles and click-generating bots further muddy the waters, making it nearly impossible to distinguish genuine user engagement from a carefully constructed digital mirage.

Ad fraud is hard to detect because it may not have an immediate, obvious financial impact. You might think your ad campaign is successful and continue to spend more money on it. In reality, you’re getting fake leads and not reaching potential customers.

Studies suggest a substantial portion of ad spend goes directly into the pockets of fraudsters, leaving advertisers with little to show for their investment. Beyond the financial losses, ad fraud erodes consumer trust. Low-quality online placements inundated with intrusive, irrelevant video ads create rampant annoyance. This negatively impacts brand perception and drives consumers to adopt ad-blocking software, a significant roadblock for campaign reach.


Newsletter Article –Ad Fraud Reasons



The outlook isn’t all doom and gloom, though. There are ways to protect your budget, starting with a medium that incorporates a one-to-many approach such as cinema advertising. Here is why:


Get What You Paid For, and More

When you book a cinema campaign at the Mall of the Emirates or The Dubai Mall, you know when and where it will appear and that you’ll have an audience – no ad blockers, fast-forwarding, bots, or fake clicks or traffic. You can either buy by screen, by admission, or choose a movie with which your campaign will be played. These options ultimately translate to more transparency, accountability, and verification while decreasing your risk of fraud.

If this isn’t enough, cinema advertising in the region now provides a transparent reporting system like Motivate Val Morgan’s CinePlan and CineMeasure, where advertisers can generate weekly reports to track admissions, demographics, and more.


Seize the ‘Show’ time

Transparency issues and ad fraud with digital advertising often mean that video ads mostly appear in cluttered, low-quality digital environments. However, in cinema, your ad takes center stage on the Big Screen, delivering the brand’s message to a real and captive audience, eliminating the risk of fraudulent clicks or impressions.


Premium Quality Platform

According to a study by the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), more than 75% of customers agree that low-quality advertising environments lead to high consumer annoyance. Many types of subpar video placements contribute to this, including ads that seemingly slow-down loading times and multiple video ads playing simultaneously on the same page. Meanwhile, another study by Nielsen shows that consumers consistently engage with high-quality, long-form content on premium video platforms. There is no better match for that than cinema!



According to the NCM & Lumen ‘Cinema in the Media Mix’ study from March 2023, ad engagement with high-quality premium video content generates longer ‘eyes on’ viewing times than other digital and social channels. This less disruptive ad experience enhances memorability, recall and drives purchase intent. Here again, Cinema ranks number one, with close to 80% proven active attention for a 15-second ad.


Building Brand Fame

The latest research from Fiftyfive5, part of Accenture Song, reveals that a single cinema ad delivers the same brand fame as ten digital spots. Cinema isn’t just about delivering a message; it’s about forging lasting connections. The premium nature of the cinema experience elevates the perception of brands advertised. Being associated with high-quality, long-form content positions the advertiser as a premium entity, fostering trust and brand loyalty among viewers.


Engaging with a (Real) Diverse Audience

Cinema offers a unique opportunity to reach a broad range of demographics. With millions of films catering to diverse interests, advertisers can tailor their message to specific target audience demographic groups. This level of audience segmentation surpasses the limitations of online platforms, allowing for more targeted and effective advertising campaigns.


The Power of Storytelling

Cinema advertising isn’t confined to static images or intrusive banners. It’s about weaving a narrative within the film’s context. Brands don’t need to rush to include all of their messages in the first four or five seconds – with the logo. Cinema enables emotional storytelling, allowing brands to connect with viewers on a deeper level, leaving a lasting impression that transcends mere product awareness.


The Long Game

Unlike fleeting online interactions, cinema ads create a lasting impact. The large screen experience translates to a higher level of memorability. Combined with the audience’s high attention span, cinema advertising allows brands to build lasting brand awareness and loyalty.


In conclusion, there’s no denying that ad budgets are tight across the board for the foreseeable future, which means that making smart choices to maximize your spend value is more important than ever. With its brand-safe environment, captive audience, and ability to build lasting brand fame, cinema remains an indispensable component of a successful advertising strategy. While digital innovation continues to reshape the advertising landscape, cinema’s ability to connect with audiences on a deeper level ensures its continued relevance in the fight against ad fraud and the pursuit of brand success.



Sources: Statista, The Drum, Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), NCM & Lumen, Nielsen, Ad Week, Campaign Asia




Christmas Ads of 2018 Will Enliven Your Childhood

Christmas has become UK’s version of the ‘Super Bowl’ for advertisers with ad-spend in Q4 2017 amounting to a whopping £5.9bn in the UK (Nielsen) –  up by £1.2bn (+37%) over the last five years.

Each year, the competition intensifies with pressure on brands to beat the all time favourite John Lewis, and 2018 has seemingly taken the theme of childhood and nostalgia.

Check out our compilation of popular and heartwarming Christmas ads and decide for yourself:

John Lewis The Boy and The Piano #EltonJohnLewis

John Lewis commercials have become an annual tradition in British pop-culture and signals the countdown to Christmas in the UK – attracting widespread media coverage and acclaim upon release.

This year’s ad – featuring Elton John portrays the power of a gift and how it inspired, changed and influenced the course of a little boy’s life. The commercial begins with a song by Elton John ‘My Gift is My Song’ in present day, and chronologically works backwards through Elton’s life, up until the moment on Christmas morning when he received the special gift that changed his life.

The ad received more than 8 million views in just 3 days since release.


John Lewis & Waitrose For Us, It’s Personal

John Lewis and Waitrose ran their first joint marketing campaign as they launched new visual identities to mark their rebrand to John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. The ad shows a group of primary school kids putting on a special performance to Queen’sBohemian Rhapsody’ for their surprised parents.

The campaign, created by adam&eveDDB is called ‘& Partners’, uses the tagline ‘For us, it’s personal’ as it aims to shine light on the stories and skills of its staff – who the retailers call partners, to illustrate what makes it different from other retail chains.


Saintbary’s The Big Night

The earliest Christmas ad to appear in 2018 was from Sainsbury’s whose commercial ‘The Big Night’ features a cast of 60 children, led by a young girl dressed as a star. An eclectic group of Christmas characters give a rendition of the New Radicals’ nineties song, ‘You Get What You Give‘, as their parents watch on.

The ad has received 1.6 million views in 3 days.


Argos The Christmas Fool

Argos’ 2018 festive campaign features a mischievous Christmas ‘fool’ determined to ruin Christmas. The impish creature, which resembles a Christmas version of Dobby the elf from Harry Potter (with an extra sock), causes chaos around the house – from breaking fairy lights and stealing Sellotape, to unwrapping presents and knocking things over, as a family try and get their final Christmas preparations into place.

The mischievous ad has received 1.8 million views in a mere week of release.

The ad brings to light an important reality: where everyone expects Christmas to be perfect, but the reality being it never is. In this commercial, Argos promises their customers a foolproof Christmas.


Very Find the gift that helps them find their Gift

Find the gift that helps them find their gift’ is the theme behind Very’s heartwarming new Christmas advert. The festive ad, titled Elsie’s Gift, is a short, 30-second magical animation and tells the story of a schoolgirl named Elsie, who dreams of being an astronaut.

For Christmas, her parents gift her with a toy astronaut helmet, which inspires Elsie to pursue her dream. We see her learn and study with a growing interest in the universe and space travel – with the helmet always by her side.

The ad received 1.9 million views in 6 days since of release.


Iceland Say Hello to Rang-tan #NoPalmOilChristmas

Iceland has repackaged a short film by Greenpeace which portrays the destruction of an orangutan’s rainforest habitat due to palm oil growers.

The Christmas campaign has been banned from TV as it was considered ‘too political’. However, due to buzz around its ban, the commercial garnered 4.3 million views in 6 days of release online.


Click here to watch more 2018 Christmas commercials.



Sources: DigitalSpy, House Beautiful, Marketing Week, The Guardian, and The Drum