Wilkins, who works with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) on Project Reconnect, an initiative to better understand what consumers want from brands, says the Times report exemplifies part of a wider problem with digital marketing.
"Funding of extreme websites is just one of a myriad of complex, opaque issues around digital marketing, it is not the issue, it's just one of them, and that's what's made this so complicated."
Wilkins cites disruptive techniques such as retargeting, where an ad "follows" someone around the internet, pre-roll advertising techniques on videos "to stop you getting to the content you want to watch," and "screen invasions" where content pops up on an article or website. "There is a lot of evidence to suggest that it is creating very negative feelings among consumers towards brands," he said.
Following the Times report, the WFA's chief executive Stephan Loerke has urged advertisers to be cautious with their digital advertising. "It is incumbent upon the ecosystem, including publishers, ad networks, programmatic companies and agencies, to prove that the capability to effectively deal with challenges such as ad fraud and brand misplacement is in place," he said in an emailed statement.
"As it stands this seems not to be the case. Until this time, brand owners need to apply caution in relation to their overall digital media investment." He also urged media platforms to do more to remove "inappropriate" content.
Brand safety online
Car marque Jaguar and U.K. supermarket Waitrose are two of the companies mentioned by the Times article, which claims that their advertising appeared on hate websites or next to extremist video content. Both brands told CNBC.com that they have processes in place to monitor online advertising and are looking into why and how their advertising featured against such content, with Jaguar withdrawing its U.K. digital advertising temporarily, after saying it was "very concerned" by the report.
"We re-started digital advertising on Saturday 11 February, and are having constructive discussions with YouTube about improved third party verification," Jaguar said in an emailed statement, which added that it had already invested in "developing practices to minimize the risk of our brands being associated with inappropriate content."
A Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement: "When it comes to content on YouTube, we remove flagged videos that break our rules and have a zero tolerance policy for content that incites violence or hatred.
"Some content on YouTube may be controversial and offensive, which is why we only allow advertising against videos which fall within our advertising guidelines. Our partners can also choose not to appear against content they consider inappropriate, and we have a responsibility to work with the industry to help them make informed choices."
YouTube has also partnered with Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter in an initiative to help stop the spread of terrorist content online, it was announced in December 2016.
Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.