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A P&G Update from Cannes

We reported earlier this year on Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for P&G, who has been encouraging the ad industry to work toward solutions for thorny industry-wide issues like brand safety, measurement, and more simplified service offerings. Pritchard’s words carry extra weight because he oversees ad spending for one of the world’s biggest consumer companies, an organization that invests close to $3 billion per year on advertising. Pritchard shared an update on his call for industry accountability at the annual Cannes Lions Festival in France this month. What actions has the company taken since his comments first came to light? And how is the industry responding?

According to Pritchard, the industry is about “40 to 50 percent” complete in its work to address advertisers’ concerns related to transparency and measurement. “The players in the digital industry have stepped up and they understand this and they’re making progress,” said Pritchard. Most importantly, efforts to standardize measurement have improved. P&G is requiring all its vendors to integrate third-party verification standards from the Media Ratings Council (MRC). All vendors and publishers that want to continue working with P&G will need to adopt this standard by the end of 2017. Many, including Extreme Reach, have already done so.

P&G’s move toward media buys that meet brand safety standards is also making progress. Following the 2017 deadline set for the use of MRC-accreditation, P&G is also asking that any entity touching their digital media efforts become “TAG-certified” (TAG stands for Trustworthy Accountability Group). Extreme Reach was among the first 100 ad industry companies to receive a TAG certification last year, which underscores our efforts to increase transparency and fight against “bad actors” in the world of digital advertising. We’ve been building a new standard of excellence for ad partners, helping them monitor digital campaign indictors like ad viewability, non-human traffic and brand safety standards. [Link:]

The good news about the progress made by P&G is that it is likely to have an outsize impact on the rest of the industry’s push to ensure greater accountability. Not only will this make advertisers more confident about their investment in digital formats like video. It’s also likely to help spur more innovation in new ad formats and media buying techniques as well. As Pritchard noted, “once you have transparency across all platforms, then you can evaluate more clearly how one medium compares to another.”