Google’s paid advertisement division, AdWords, says it misspoke after facing harsh online criticism for designating the terms "plus size" and "curvy" as “negative physical attributes.”
The incident recently made headlines after an advertiser was sent a message after trying to upload marketing messages using the terms.
The company has since updated the wording of its disapproval policy, but did it go far enough?
WordStream’s attempt to use keywords "plus size" and "curvy" in an ad on behalf of an unspecified fashion client were met with a disapproval
notice, part of which read:
Gmail Ads—Body type and personality targeting: Given the unique nature of Gmail ads and how users interact with these ads, we’ve developed an additional
layer of policy requirements specific to Gmail ads. At this time, Gmail Advertising policy does not permit promotion of products and services that targets
individuals with negative physical attributes such plus size, curvy. To run your ads, please remove any content related to body type and personality
targeting from your ad or site.
WordStream, which helps clients secure advertising through Google AdWords, blogged about the experience, but subsequently took down the post at the
advertiser’s request. Buzzfeed republished part of the post here.
The damage was already done after several additional media outlets picked up the story, forcing Google to rethink the language it uses for its
A Google spokesperson offered the following statement:
We have very specific policies on the types of ads we allow in Gmail. The email our team sent to explain this was poorly worded and we’ve made changes to
fix this moving forward.
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This likely means that Google will stop referring to "plus size" and "curvy" as “negative physical attributes,” but will continue to question marketers' general allowance of targeting email recipients by body type.
What do you think, PR Daily readers? Should the company allow marketers to use body-type-related searches and keywords to reach their audiences?