GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, announced the expansion of its Media Inclusion Initiative (MII) to include a five percent pledge to allocate spend across Black, Hispanic, AAPI and LGBTQ+ owned and/or focused media.
The pledge invites brands to invest at least five percent of total annual media budgets across publishers that create, curate, and distribute content specifically for diverse audiences.
“As the largest media investment company in the world, we have a responsibility to accelerate growth through the next era of media,” said Kirk McDonald, CEO, GroupM North America. “That means making our industry more inclusive and equitable for all publishers. As well as, sharing brands’ products and services with audiences that are representative of the changing face of America in service of growing their businesses.”
In its first 18 months, MII, an integrated strategy for directing investment in and creating opportunities for diverse media companies and content creators—has outpaced the industry with a triple digit increase in client investments in Black-owned media according to SMI data.
“We’ve seen increasing client support for our Media Inclusion Initiative since we first launched in May 2021,” said, Matt Sweeney, chief investment officer GroupM US. “By providing an intentional way for brands to support diverse-owned media we can ensure our clients are providing a platform for diverse voices, ensuring inclusive representation and reaching broader audiences.”
Additionally, the group has hired Cynthia Morgan Jenkins as head of supplier diversity to develop and nurture relationships with diverse-owned media and content partners. Morgan will lead the integration of those partners into GroupM client strategies. She reports to Gonzalo del Fa, president, GroupM Multicultural.
“The Media Inclusion Initiative helps us, and our clients achieve greater equity while supporting the voices, content and editorial written for and by these communities and creating a more diverse media marketplace in the process,” said, del Fa. “Not only have we doubled the number of clients participating in the Media Inclusion Initiative, but we’re also seeing those brands increase their commitments.”
MII reinforces GroupM’s “Responsible Investment” buying framework. The framework’s five focus areas—Brand Safety, Data Ethics, DE&I, Responsible Journalism and Sustainability—signals a new media era where scale serves clients through a commitment to make advertising work better for people.
Additionally, in July 2020, GroupM launched the GroupM Multicultural Marketplace, which is currently live with 300 publishers, representing a comprehensive – and growing – list of Black-and Hispanic-owned and/or focused publishers that create, curate, and distribute content specifically for these audiences.