New York: GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, today announced its “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.
GroupM has been implementing meaningful initiatives and partnerships across these pillars, the latest of which taps OZY, the next-generation media company with a mission to bring “New + Next” voices to a broader audience. This partnership demonstrates further GroupM’s commitment to supporting more diverse perspectives, ideas, voices, and journalism.
“The next era of media must work harder to create a healthier advertising ecosystem for everyone, especially the people consuming it,” said Kirk McDonald, GroupM North America CEO. “As the largest global media network, it is our responsibility to help clients assign media dollars as a force for good and we are using our scale to bring about positive and meaningful change. OZY is a compelling example of the type of partner we’ll continue to align with, given the work they’ve done in finding, supporting, curating, and exposing the world to fresh perspectives and audiences.”
The “Responsible Investment” framework is the next evolution in GroupM’s investment approach and gives the group’s agency teams numerous strategic planning options for clients to consider when investing media dollars. It evolves valuation and measurement methods to account for social and environmental impact like a media placement’s carbon emissions, the diversity of audience makeup and a concerted emphasis on local journalism and credible news sources.
GroupM’s preferred partnership with OZY further reinforces how the group directs investment and supports partners that further diversify efforts that improve the advertising ecosystem and drive positive social change. It will see OZY create original video, audio, and written series for GroupM clients, while GroupM clients will get exposure to OZY’s growing premium audience of 75M+ curious, forward-thinking millennials, GenX and GenZ’ers. The GroupM-OZY partnership is the latest example of GroupM helping clients maximize media dollars through socially conscious buying to fund positive change.
“This moment is demanding more from media and GroupM’s commitment to advancing fresh voices and engaging new audiences in more substantive and impactful ways has made them a critical partner for OZY,” said Carlos Watson, CEO, and co-founder of OZY. “Today’s exciting news deepens our partnership and gives us an opportunity to envision a new future and create bigger, more ambitious content and experiences for some of GroupM’s most forward-thinking clients.”
GroupM has long served as industry leaders in areas like brand safety, diverse and inclusive media practices, the ethical use of data, support for credible news, and media supply chain sustainability. The investment strategy expands, scales, and assembles existing and in-progress initiatives by GroupM in these areas under the singular framework of “Responsible Investment.”
GroupM’s ‘Responsible Investment’ framework supports initiatives that fall within five focus areas, in different levels of maturity:
- BRAND SAFETY
Ads seen in a brand-safe environment are critical for brands and the people with which they’re trying to connect. GroupM has long acted as an industry advocate and leader in shaping how brand safety is managed across new and established media partners via collaborative efforts to devise shared technology solutions and establish measurement frameworks and standard definitions.
Some of those moments:
- 2014: Established GroupM’s Display Viewability Standard
- 2015: Established GroupM’s Video Viewability Standard
- 2016: Created the first Global Brand Safety Office/Service
- 2017: Established GroupM’s Native & Outstream Video Viewability standard
- 2019: In June, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) is co-founded by GroupM. Later that year, GroupM launches the RADAR Viewability & Brand Safety Benchmarking tool.
- 2020: Launched GroupM Premium Supply in the U.S.
- DATA ETHICS
With ethics ranking three times more important to company trust than competence, binary decisions are taken on whether or not data is ‘opted in’ are no longer sustainable in our industry. GroupM’s data ethics philosophy is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” and has long put consumers at the center of its data decisions.
As the calls grow louder to define the line between good and bad use of data, in February 2021, GroupM created the industry’s first-ever tool to provide a consistent approach to ethical decision-making concerning data-driven media tactics—The Data Ethics Compass. This global web app allows agencies to quickly and consistently evaluate data assets’ ethical risk levels across verticals and geographies.
For advertising to work better for people, brands must dedicate media dollars to supplier diversity and efforts that improve the ecosystem and drive positive cultural influence. GroupM supports publishers that reach more diverse audiences with sustainable initiatives supporting and reaching underrepresented voices and communities.
GroupM has taken a critical stand over the last few years in support of the changing demographics around the world, especially inside the United States in the form of various initiatives, including:
2019: GroupM launches the New Majo”rity Ready Coalition with support from partners to recognize the population growth of non-white citizens to a little less than 40% in America.
2020: In July, GroupM launches the Multicultural Marketplace, comprising 300+ Black & Hispanic owned and/or focused media publishers. In August, GroupM announces an exclusive sponsorship deal with the entire slate of Shondaland Audio podcasts released through its heart partnership.
- RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM
Ethical and responsible media investment is the tip of the spear for our communities. We’re already seeing medium-sized and local news organizations close down at alarming rates, leaving communities underserved and/or unserved by reliable, localized news sources. Investing strategically in the right vehicles and placements helps rebuild credible news and publication ecosystems. Last year, GroupM launched or helped to create:
The Global Local News Marketplace with local outlets across 31 countries.
The Help Journalism PMP in partnership with TripleLift to curate a brand-safe environment to buy ads next to hard news content.
Media placements have a carbon footprint and reducing a campaign’s carbon emissions is critical in creating a more sustainable ecosystem, advertising and otherwise. GroupM’s ambition is to assess and reduce media-related emissions through its footprint analysis and offset-approach tool.