WFA asked major multinational clients to reflect on what the global media industry should prioritise moving forward. Matt Green, WFA's Director of Global Media, reviews their top priorities for collaboration
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Back in 2018, at a time when the trade press was filled with commentary on issues connected with viewability, ad fraud and walled gardens, WFA published its Global Media Charter.
It was a powerful call to arms from clients who were (and continue to be) deeply concerned about the direction of travel of the digital side of our industry in particular.
“Let us jointly take responsibility and actively drive the changes we need in our industry,” said Gerhard Louw, then International Media Lead at Deutsche Telekom and now Global Media Director for Lindt. “Time is running out.”
Fast forward four years and, while the clock has been ticking, clearly there do remain a number of causes for concern in digital media. But anyone engaged in industry work knows that change is gradual and evolutionary. Not overnight.
The Charter, which has been translated into four languages, provided focus, a common agenda and a platform for clients to collaborate across the industry. And it’s important to point out that there have been huge changes and considerable progress.
With agency and media owner partners, advertisers and advertiser associations have collaborated to address many of our most intractable problems. GARM was set up by brands to remove harmful content from ad-supported digital and social media.
Project Halo was instigated by marketers to accelerate the local implementation of a new breed of cross-media measurement technology, powering more accurate ‘always-on’ reports on reach and frequency, unduplicated between TV and digital. Having written the open-source software code for the technology, under the direction of advertisers, the Halo team are now focusing on supporting local implementations of the tech via the ANA (US) and ISBA/Origin (UK) and other markets beyond.
Exciting and meaningful progress. But times have changed and we need a new Charter which reflects where the priorities of global clients lie in 2022 and where we need to concentrate over the next four years.
At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, WFA convened its Media Board of senior media leaders to identify what areas we need to address going forwards.
A focus on Capabilities and Organisations is pressing, especially as we find ourselves amidst a talent “crisis”. Knowing who we’re transacting with and for how much is still, of course, of the utmost importance, so Supply Chains and Transparency remains front and centre for media leaders.
But the narrative is changing. Fast.
Sustainability was the watchword at WFA’s Global Marketer Week this year and it’s clear that clients are now focused on the challenges which help us make more conscious media investment decisions.
Media leaders are recognizing that the amount of carbon emissions produced from energy-intensive digital campaigns can be significant. Carbon calculators, to measure the CO2 output from a campaign, are becoming more commonplace but we need “a common framework for measuring the carbon footprint of our media plans” says Catherine Lautier, VP, Global Head of Media and Integrated Brand Communications at Danone.
The march towards greater data privacy is prompting a growing sentiment of consumer centricity among media leaders, and increasingly advertisers are taking into account ethical questions when leveraging data. But, as an industry, we’re not doing enough in this area suggest some members and “there may be unintended consequences” for those who do not raise their game, says Luiz Barros, Commercial VP, Data & Analytics, Digital Transformation & Global Media at AB InBev.
Advertisers’ media planning and buying choices can play a significant role in supporting diversity and inclusion in the mainstream media landscape. "We need to do more to ensure our media is funding diverse voices and fuelling a sustainable future” says Jerry Daykin, VP Global Media, Beam Suntory.
In summary, our co-chairs Gerry D’Angelo (VP, Global Media at P&G) and Isabel Massey (Global Media Director at Diageo) agree that “whether it’s talent or privacy or becoming more consumer-centric…all of these priorities build towards ensuring that there is a sustainable future for the media industry.”
In many cases the existing industry collaborations established by advertisers can pivot to embrace the new wave of challenges. But the Media Charter needs a refresh to reflect the growing impetus towards sustainability. Working with the Media Board, WFA aims to publish a new Charter in the coming months. We’re looking forward to collaborating across the industry to address the new wave of challenges.