Brief

Publishers to P&G: We can help clean up media

Dive Brief:

  • Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next — an organization which includes premium publishers like Atlantic Media, Hearst and The New York Times, among others — sent an open letter to P&G's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, as reported in Ad Age. The letter directly addresses Pritchard's recent announcement that his company would no longer work with partners who are not properly accredited and acting to clean up the digital media supply chain.
  • Kint’s message boiled down to letting Pritchard know that the solution would be to only advertise with publishers' websites that are trusted and high-quality, with Digital Content Next's members fitting those criteria. 
  • "We have heard your calls for human, viewable, third-party accredited inventory. We have heard your calls for brand safety. We want to assure you that our trusted, market-leading brands will continue to engage in meaningful ways to promote and protect your trusted brands," Klint wrote. "The 80+ premium publisher brands of DCN are committed to building trustworthy experiences and marketing transactions for consumers and advertisers."

Dive Insight:

Pritchard’s announcement, given at the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting late last month, stated that P&G previously “believed the myth” that it could be a first mover in digital advertising despite the lack of standards, measurements and verification, and that "the days of giving digital a pass are over."

Part of the CPG giant's new, more stringent guidelines demands that publishers adhere to the Media Ratings Council's Viewability Standard as a minimum requirement and that publishers adopt MRC-accredited third-party verification in order to get P&G’s business.

While some thought Pritchard's manifesto dramatic or unrealistic, he's clearly incited action across the digital ad industry, now notably with a wide stable of premium publishers. Organizations and ad platforms have recently made larger pushes for MRC accreditation as well, including Facebook, who agreed to an audit by the MRC following a slew of metrics-related controversies last year.

Procter & Gamble is the largest advertiser in the world.  All of the issues Pritchard brought up at IAB — viewability, ad fraud and digital transparency – have been ongoing industry concerns, but P&G's actions are clearly spurring some degree of unity between publishers, marketers and advertisers in addressing them head-on, as Klint's letter shows. 

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