IPA welcomes Unilever’s call for digital landscape clean-up

The IPA has welcomed comments from Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed to clean up the digital landscape, in which he has called the leading digital platforms and publishers to account.

In a speech delivered at the IAB’s annual conference in California on Monday (12 February), Weed made a three-pronged commitment to responsible platforms, content and infrastructure, to which the IPA’s Director General Paul Bainsfair has responded:

1) On responsible platforms: Unilever will not invest in platforms that do not protect children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate.

“The UK has the most robust digital cross industry brand safety initiative in the world: the DTSG Good Practice Principles. The IPA was instrumental in making this happen and has repeatedly called for all suppliers of online display advertising to sign up. IPA President Sarah Golding has been vocal in pursuing this goal from her inauguration speech through to her recent comments that “… with great scale and power comes great responsibility. Facebook has had a tectonic impact on society. Whilst they will make a strong case for the positives, we have seen bad actors and vested interests take advantage of the platform to sow division and misinformation with tremendous consequences. We would like to see Facebook confront its responsibilities proactively and head on rather than either abrogating them by stepping away from participating in accurate news dissemination or leaving themselves open to regulation.”

 2) On responsible content: Unilever is committed to creating responsible content, initially by tackling gender stereotypes in advertising through the Unstereotype Alliance.

“As a founding member of the UN/Unilever’s Unstereotype Alliance, alongside Keith Weed and P&G’s Mark Pritchard, our IPA President Sarah Golding is deeply involved in helping to advance advertising away from stereotypical portrayals of gender, which as Keith Weed has said is both a social and business imperative.”

 3) On responsible infrastructure: Unilever will only partner with organisations that are committed to creating better digital infrastructure, such as aligning around one measurement system and improving the customer experience.

“As we’ve said before, one viewability measure makes sense from a perspective of clarity and simplicity, but advertisers don’t currently agree on what this should be. One measurement system works where you are measuring like-for-like. In the UK we have worked very closely with Unilever’s trade body, ISBA, and last year made a collective call to action for more accountable media data via JICs (Joint Industry Committees) A Matter of Fact. We also gave our support to the IAB’s Gold Standard which includes adhering to the Coalition for Better Advertising standards.”