International: GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, today announced that it has formed the Media Inclusion Initiative, an integrated investment strategy to support and grow diverse and Black-owned media companies and creators, with an initial focus on Black-owned media and creators. As the latest program in GroupM’s Responsible Investment framework, this initiative deepens the group’s DE&I commitments. Specifically, the program components include a 2+% Pledge and “Diverse Voices Accelerator” positive impact fund that begins with an initial focus on Black-owned media.
“The Media Inclusion Initiative represents GroupM’s long-term strategy for supporting diverse media,” said Kirk McDonald, GroupM North America CEO. “In the immediate term, the Media Inclusion Initiative does two things: It invests in Black-owned media companies and creators that exist today, and it invests in supporting new Black-owned media companies and creators for tomorrow. As we head into this week’s Black Owned Media Upfront, we look forward to making these investments collaboratively with our clients.”
The first component of the Media Inclusion Initiative is a “2+% Pledge.” This pledge invites GroupM clients to invest at least two percent (2%) of their total annual media budgets in Black-owned media. Invitations and planning are active now, with activation projected in the next 12 months.
Additionally, the Diverse Voices Accelerator serves as a positive impact content fund created within Motion Content Group, GroupM’s global content investment and rights management company. The platform will support writers, producers, directors, talent and production companies in the development, funding, distribution and marketing of premium content for GroupM’s clients. The Diverse Voices Accelerator will initially focus on Black-owned initiatives and companies and will subsequently expand its reach to traditionally underrepresented communities in entertainment and media.
“For advertising to work better for people, we must dedicate media dollars to initiatives and activities that improve the ecosystem and drive positive cultural influence,” said Christian Juhl, GroupM Global CEO. “As the largest global media network, we are in a unique position to create scaled programs like the Media Inclusion Initiative that can effect enormous change in the media industry. While this commitment of 2+% could represent support and investment of up to 30% of all available Black-owned media, our long-term hope and goal is that it helps create more opportunities for Black creators, producers and Black-owned businesses.”
The Media Inclusion Initiative further reinforces GroupM’s critical stand over the last several years to invest and support supplier diversity and efforts that improve the industry’s ecosystem and drive positive cultural influence. Among these is the New Majority Ready Coalition, launched in 2019—with support from partners—to recognize the population growth of ethnically and racially diverse under 18-year-olds to 52 percent. 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. In February 2021, GroupM also announced a preferred partnership with OZY to create original video, audio and written series for GroupM clients.
“It is critical that we focus our attention on enhancing diverse media owners, creating opportunities for new multicultural entrants across all minority communities,” said Gonzalo del Fa, President of GroupM Multicultural. “By investing in Black-owned media, we facilitate broader thinking and action that builds muscle memory for inclusivity and authenticity. Responsible investment is a critical step in supporting all multicultural organizations and engaging diverse audiences.”