Publicis Media has launched a multi-year initiative to increase diverse media investments through a consortium called Once & For All Coalition, the company said Wednesday.
The initiative, open to all Publicis Groupe clients, commits to growing its investments with minority-owned and targeted media companies. The group also plans to develop minority creators, content and media, and update media infrastructure to be equitable. So far, 21 companies from across its client roster have joined. Publicis declined to name which companies.
The Once & For All Coalition includes advertising industry groups such as the Association of National Advertisers and the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing. The group has partnered with 23 minority-owned and targeting suppliers, with a focus on Black and Hispanic audiences. Publicis declined to name the suppliers in the consortium.
The initiative is part of Publicis’ ongoing diverse media spending efforts. Over recent months, companies including McDonald’s and GM have come under scrutiny for lack of diversity across their media investments, and agencies including GroupM, Dentsu and IPG Mediabrands have made commitments to increase diverse media investments among their clients. Publicis Groupe told Campaign US it has not committed to a specific investment figure as investments are driven by clients.
“The issue that we're trying to solve is much more than what percentage you spend with a supplier,” said Jason Smith, president of diversified investments at SparkFoundry. “If the measurement of supplier [diversity] is not equitable, or the panels that we use to measure people isn't representative of our consumers, it doesn't really help.”
To kick off, more than 120 industry leaders gathered to discuss and perform an economic review of spend benchmarking against minority owned media suppliers. Attendees included Lawrance Lee Evans Jr., managing director, U.S. government accountability office; Dr. Jisu Huh, Ph.D, professor and advertising scholar; and Jaemie L. Neely, supplier diversity expert.
Publicis will lead the coalition quarterly in discussions with economists, data scientists, academics and other thought leaders to progress the program and hold itself accountable to commitments. The holding company will also serve as liaison between clients and diverse suppliers on a monthly basis to establish connections and set goals for the coalition.
Publicis Media will also help its clients establish commitments to increase their own diverse-owned and targeted media spend, as well as provide research, measure, content and infrastructure around those commitments. The company will also invest $25 million into diverse content creation through its APX Content Ventures offering.
“As a marketer, the value of being able to deliver with reference to culture, ethnicity, diverse backgrounds is a critical skill,” Smith said. “While [diversity] is an ethical approach, it's also an [intelligent] business approach to our industry.”
The Coalition will provide a year-end summary and progress report in Q4 2021.