GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, today announced that an inaugural group of 20 clients has pledged to spend at least two percent (2%) of their total annual media budgets in Black-owned media companies through the firm’s recently introduced Media Inclusion Initiative (MII). The Media Inclusion Initiative, a program within GroupM’s Responsible Investment framework, is an integrated strategy for directing investment in, and creating opportunities for, diverse media companies and content creators with an initial focus on Black-owned media.
“Directing investment toward Black-owned media is essential to the future of our industry and a priority for GroupM in our mission to create a more equitable ecosystem and make advertising work better for people,” said Matt Sweeney, Chief Investment Officer GroupM US. “We are inspired by the immediate enthusiasm from this initial group of industry-leading clients which reinforces our commitment to meaningful, long-term action.”
A firm 2+% commitment from this initial consortium of clients, including AARP, adidas, Citizens, Danone, DoorDash, Ferrara, General Mills, L’Oréal USA, Mars, MGA Entertainment, Mizkan America Inc., maker of RAGÚ, Nestlé, No7 Beauty Company, Pernod Ricard, Pharmavite, maker of Nature Made vitamins and supplements, Ring, Target, Tyson Foods, Uber, and WW International, Inc., will deliver sizable impact in the makeup of a more representative ecosystem. These public commitments come in tandem with private allocations and ongoing discussions with additional clients in conjunction with the 2021 upfronts.
Travis Freeman, Global Head of Media & Social, Uber, said: “Uber is committed to leveraging our scale to drive positive social impact and change. This partnership with GroupM focusing on Black-owned media is an important part of our anti-racism work and in line with our commitment to double supplier spend with Black-owned businesses.”
Terrance Irizarry, Head of Inclusive Diversity for Danone North America, said: “At Danone, the marketing for our delicious foods and beverages needs to reflect the diversity of our consumers and society – and reach those consumers meaningfully. Evaluating our media investments to ensure they are spent with Black-owned media companies is an important step in combatting racial inequality and creating new economic opportunities for diverse communities. This is part of our larger journey and our work toward enhancing the overall diversity in our content, and our partnerships with diverse suppliers in the industry.”
Courtney Ballantini, VP of Marketing Communications at Tyson Foods, said: “At Tyson, we are committed to equity, inclusion and diversity within our own business and across our communities. We are proud to join GroupM’s Media Inclusion Initiative and commend all agency and advertiser efforts to support minority-owned media companies and creators. We believe investing with intention is critical for advancing equitable and inclusive marketing practices, and we are pleased to partner with GroupM and Mindshare to accelerate those efforts.”
Maurice Cooper, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Target said: “At Target, we’re committed to promoting inclusivity across our business, from the brands we carry and stories that we tell to how we connect with our guests. The health and longevity of Black-owned publishers is essential to an equitable and representative media landscape, and we recognize an opportunity to drive meaningful change by spending 5% of our budget each year with Black-owned media companies, beginning in 2022, while also increasing our engagement with Black content creators. These investments will help our partners grow, further compete and extend their reach, helping ensure that all guests, everywhere, feel even more welcome at Target.”
GroupM’s recently announced Media Inclusion Initiative unveiled two signature platforms – the 2+% Pledge and the Diverse Voices Accelerator (DVA) which serves as a positive impact content fund created within Motion Content Group, GroupM’s global content investment and rights management company. The DVA will support writers, producers, directors, talent, and production companies in the development, funding, distribution, and marketing of premium content for GroupM’s clients.
“Today’s bold commitment by our GroupM clients is essential to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the media landscape,” said Gonzalo del Fa, President, GroupM Multicultural. “Investing in the Black-owned media companies of today and the future, is at the core of the Media Inclusion Initiative. We plan to continue to work with all our clients to identify further ways to do just that.”
The Media Inclusion Initiative reinforces GroupM’s critical stand over the last several years to invest in and support supplier diversity and efforts that improve the industry’s ecosystem and drive positive cultural influence. Among these is the New Majority Ready Coalition, launched in 2019 – with support from partners – to recognize the population growth of ethnically and racially diverse under 18-year-olds to 52 percent. Additionally, in July 2020, GroupM launched the GroupM Multicultural Marketplace, which is currently live with 300 publishers, representing a comprehensive – and growing – list of Black- and Hispanic-owned and/or focused publishers that create, curate, and distribute content specifically for these audiences. In February 2021, GroupM also announced a preferred partnership with OZY to create original video, audio, and written series for GroupM clients.