- WPP's GroupM started a program to support diverse and Black-owned media companies and creators as part of its broader inclusion efforts. The agency's Media Inclusion Initiative will initially focus on Black-owned media and creative professionals with its 2+% Pledge and Diverse Voices Accelerator fund, per an announcement.
- The 2+% Pledge invites GroupM clients to spend at least 2% of their total yearly media budgets on Black-owned media outlets. The invitations and planning are happening now, with activations projected to start in the next 12 months, according to the media agency.
- GroupM's Motion Content Group created the Diverse Voices Accelerator fund to support writers, producers, directors, talent and production companies in the development, funding, distribution and marketing of premium content for advertisers. The fund will first focus on Black-owned initiatives and companies, and later expand to include traditionally underrepresented communities in entertainment and media.
GroupM's Media Inclusion Initiative aims to encourage marketers to increase their spending on Black-owned media and creators as part of their efforts to reach a more diverse group of consumers and to support a more vibrant media marketplace. While last summer's mass protests against racial injustice helped to raise greater awareness of diversity and inclusion, marketers also need to adapt their messaging to resonate with younger consumers. Generation Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than older generations, pushing brands to adapt their messaging or lose relevance among a group with growing spending power.
"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," Christian Juhl, CEO of GroupM Global, said in the announcement. "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."
GroupM's initiatives mark the latest expansion of the agency's broader Responsible Investment effort to support brand safety, data ethics, responsible journalism, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Announced last month, the Responsible Investment framework aims to help advertisers measure the social and environmental effects of their campaigns, including carbon emissions, audience diversity and greater emphasis on local journalism and credible news sources.
Among GroupM's other efforts to promote diversity in media, the agency in February announced a preferred partnership with Ozy Media, the digital publisher co-founded by former CNN journalist Carlos Watson, to create original video, audio and written series for GroupM clients. GroupM also participates in the New Majority Ready Coalition, which was started two years ago to recognize the growth of ethnically and racially diverse people to 52% of the population younger than age 18. The agency in July 2020 launched the GroupM Multicultural Marketplace to showcase Black and Hispanic media outlets.
GroupM isn't alone among the major agencies that have sought to support Black-owned media outlets. IPG Mediabrands, the media and marketing services unit of agency holding company Interpublic Group, this week pledged to allocate at least 5% of total media spending among its advertiser clientele to Black-owned media by 2023. The goal is to boost spending on Black-focused media from last year's level of less than 2%, as measured by Nielsen Ad Intel. IPG in March hosted its first Equity Upfront to highlight the role of Black-owned media outlets in reaching Black audiences.