An uproar that began with hate speech on YouTube was quelled only after a major charm offensive by Google.
The Internet giant was forced to make an all-out public relations push in recent weeks to reassure big advertisers after some well-known brands had their ads placed next to objectionable content on its video service, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said late Thursday.
In an effort led by chief business officer Phillip Schindler, the company reached out to calm “thousands and thousands” of YouTube clients nervous that their brands might be next to suffer the same embarrassment, Pichai said on a conference call with Wall Street analysts after the company’s Q2 earnings report on Thursday.
The effort came after a slew of well-known brands, including McDonald’s, Audi and AT&T, said they would temporarily suspend advertising on YouTube after the Times of London discovered ads placed next to racist, sexist and xenophobic content.
The uproar caused at least one financial analyst to downgrade the company’s shares.
While the ad boycott failed to dent the near-term business of Google parent Alphabet, which reported first-quarter sales and profit that topped Wall Street estimates, it took a lot of effort to quell.
“I would estimate Phillip Schindler’s team made literally thousands and thousands of calls…an in-person conversations,” Pichai said in response to a question on the call.
The end result for YouTube and Google is that “we’re evolving overall to a better place,” according to Pichai, adding that “the feedback from our partners was very positive and constructive.”