- Advertising software provider Mediaocean and IBM's digital agency unit, IBM iX, have partnered to launch a blockchain consortium, Mediaocean announced at the Cannes Lions advertising festival this week and in a company news release.
- The consortium is aimed at improving transparency and building trust and accountability in the digital ad space, with a focus on the digital media supply chain. It is backed by large advertisers, agencies and publishers, including Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer, Unilever and IBM Watson Advertising.
- The IBM Blockchain platform will power a new solution, which intends to offer a comprehensive, real-time view of the supply chain. The initiative will also focus on "supply chain opacity," or, the difficulty advertisers and agencies sometimes experience in identifying how much of their ad spend is going toward "working media." Set to launch in July, the solution promises to help advertisers track the life cycle of their media spend and record all media transactions, including payments and purchase orders, in a secure way.
Blockchain is being viewed as a potential technology solution to the mounting challenges facing digital advertising, including the difficulty of reconciling campaign performance data and brining more transparency to the space. Mediaocean and IBM's new consortium being backed by brands like Kellogg, Unilever and Pfizer demonstrates that some of the ad industry's biggest hitters have confidence that blockchain can clean up some of the murk from the digital media supply chain and improve efficiency.
Blockchain-based solutions are built on a distributed ledger of transactions that are difficult to alter, which, in advertising terms, might help to eliminate fraud and redundancies. Two-thirds of large companies are expected to integrate some form of blockchain into their businesses by the end of the year, according to forecasts from Juniper Research. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the technology has been a hot topic of discussion at Cannes Lions, which is one of the ad industry's more closely-watched annual gatherings.
AB Inbev, the brewing giant behind brands like Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, announced at the show that it is working with the mobile marketing company Kiip on a blockchain mobile ad campaign. The companies claim it is the first blockchain-based mobile ad campaign. Unilever has also reported success with a different blockchain pilot with IBM, though one that has similar goals as Mediaocean's.
IBM is potentially looking to position itself as a leader with blockchain as the nascent technology starts to take off. The company also recently worked with the publisher Salon Media on a pilot for a blockchain proof-of-concept product developed with the help of AdLedger, which is a nonprofit consortium working to set up blockchain standards for digital ads.