Mars axes YouTube adverts after being shown next to drill rap videos

p>Confectionery giant Mars has pulled its advertising from YouTube after one of its brands was shown alongside drill rap videos linked to violent crime in the capital.

The company said it was “unacceptable” for its adverts to appear next to these kinds of videos, and said it was working with Google to “understand what went wrong”.

One ad was said to have appeared alongside a video featuring the Moscow17 collective, whose rapper Incognito – real name believed to be Siddique Kamara – was knifed to death in Camberwell, south London, on Wednesday evening.

Camberwell stabbing
Moscow17 rapper Incognito was stabbed to death in Camberwell (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Two other males, aged 16 and 31, who also suffered stab injuries in the incident, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Moscow17’s tracks have had hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and include lyrics hostile to long-running rivals Zone 2, from Peckham.

A spokeswoman from Mars said: “It is unacceptable and disappointing to see one of our brands advertised alongside this video content. This clearly breaches our brand safety guidelines and Mars adverts should never run alongside such content.

“We have taken the action to remove all our online advertising on YouTube and can confirm we are working with Google and our media buying agencies to understand what went wrong. Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has called on social media platforms like YouTube to remove videos that glamorise violence and, in an interview with Link Up TV earlier this year, Incognito admitted drill music was fuelling violent crime in the capital.

“You see with the crime that’s happening right now, music does influence it. You’ve got to put your hands up and say drill music does influence it,” he said.

“But knife crime and gun crime has been going on way before drill music, so if you want to talk about 10 years, 20 years, people were still getting cheffed up (attacked with knifes).”

A spokeswoman for YouTube said it was working with the Metropolitan Police to review videos that may be connected with the stabbing.

The spokeswoman added: “Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence.”

Web editor