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Global Alliance for Responsible Media launches to address digital safety

Cannes, France – Today, 16 of the world’s leading advertisers announced the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, an unprecedented, global collaboration with agencies, media companies and platforms, and industry associations to rapidly improve digital safety.

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With nearly 3.8 billion people online, the world is increasingly connected, and yet the increase in dangerous, hateful, disruptive and fake content online risks threatening our global community. Members of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media recognize the role that advertisers can play in collectively pushing to improve the safety of online environments. Together, they are collaborating with publishers and platforms to do more to address harmful and misleading media environments; and to develop and deliver against a concrete set of actions, processes and protocols for protecting brands.

The Alliance was founded by World Federation of Advertisers members and will be also championed by the ANA CMO Growth Council, a member organization of the WFA. This effort enlists:

  • Advertisers including Adidas, Bayer, BP, Danone, Diageo, General Mills, GSK Consumer Healthcare, LVMH, Mars, Incorporated, Mastercard, Mondelēz International, NBCUniversal, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Shell, and Unilever;
  • Experts at Dentsu, GroupM, IPG, Publicis Media, and Omnicom Media Group, representing media agencies;
  • Media companies and platforms at launch include Facebook, Google/YouTube, Teads, TRUSTX, Twitter, Unruly, and Verizon Media; and
  • Supporting industry associations ANA, 4A’s, Interactive Advertising Bureau, ISBA, Mobile Marketing Association, Coalition for Better Ads, Effie Worldwide and WFA alongside their local advertising association members.

An immediate focus will be to form and empower an inclusive working group charged with developing a set of initial ideas and prioritizing next steps. This is the first time an alliance that represents all sides of the media industry is forming, underpinned by a working group committed to meeting regularly and reporting back on its progress to members and the industry.

The first formal meeting of the Alliance takes place Wednesday, June 19 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and is hosted by the WFA Media Board. Prior, on Tuesday, June 18, at 9:00 am CEST, a panel with the Alliance, among them, representatives from founding members Unilever, Mars and Diageo, discuss their vision, goals and priorities, takes place at WPP Beach. Alliance members are asking for the industry to open all meetings in Cannes with a call to action for more collective responsibility in media practices.

About the Global Alliance for Responsible Media

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media was formed to identify specific collaborative actions, processes and protocols for protecting consumers and brands from safety issues. Alliance members will work collaboratively to identify actions that will better protect consumers online, working towards a media environment where hate speech, bullying and disinformation is challenged, where personal data is protected, and used responsibly when given, and where everyone is, especially children, better protected online. Alliance members acknowledge their collective power to significantly improve the health of the media ecosystem.

For more information please contact:

Unilever: Erin.godbold@unilever.com

Mars, Incorporated: Kimberly.west@effem.com

Diageo: Michelle.Lavipour@diageo.com

WFA: M.Green@wfanet.org

GroupM: David.Grabert@GroupM.com

Notes to the Editor:

Global Alliance for Responsible Media: member quotes for attribution

Luis Di Como, EVP Global Media, Unilever: “When industry challenges spill into society, creating division and putting our children at risk, it’s on all of us to act. We’ve achieved a lot through Unilever’s Responsibility Framework but to do more, we must do it together. Founding this Alliance is a great step towards rebuilding trust in our industry and society.”

Robert Rakowitz, Global Head of Media, Mars, Incorporated: “Media and advertising are fundamental forces that shape how we connect, make key decisions, and shape our world view. The status quo is untenable, and our work through the Alliance will allow us to shift from driving reach at all costs to building reach with responsibility. The uncommon collaboration and shared accountability we are starting here is essential.”

Isabel Massey, Global Media Director, Diageo: “We take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously, as do many others, which means there’s no better time to move the industry forward collectively. You’ll hear me start every meeting in Cannes with one simple question: ’What more could we do together?’ I ask others to do the same.”

John Montgomery, Global EVP, Brand Safety, GroupM: “The significance of the issues in front of our industry are existential. This is about the future of marketing and how consumers trust media properties and brands; it’s also about the very fabric of our societies. Here, we check our badges at the door to find practical paths forward together.”

Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA: “We see this new alliance as an essential next step following the Media Charter we published in Cannes last year, and WFA is committed to supporting this expanded effort. Our shared ambition it to create a sustainable advertising environment that positively impacts people, communities and society at large.”

Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA: “The ANA is fully committed to the Alliance as we see it as a logical extension of the ANA’s CMO Growth Council Sustainability initiative. We believe that marketing is not only a force for growth but also for good and there is no clearer example than this.”

Gerry D’Angelo, Global Media Director, Procter & Gamble: “For far too long, issues with trust in our industry have been managed one conversation at a time. Now for the first time, the formation of this Alliance is an opportunity to harness our collective efforts for the greater good.”

Carolyn Everson, VP Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook: “I applaud and support the leadership of the Alliance for this collaboration to do more for the people we serve. We are resolute in our commitment to provide a safe community, and we know we can’t do this alone. We’ve made a lot of progress, and this Alliance is our next step forward.”

Kirk Perry, President Brand Solutions, Google: "Responsibility is critical to sustaining a healthy ecosystem and continues to be our number one priority. We welcome the objectives of this alliance and look forward to learning more and to continuing to work with our partners."

Jeremy Arditi, Chief Commercial Officer, Teads: “As an advocate for the open and ethical web, we want to help create a media industry built on transparency. Digital safety is one of the most important challenges today, and it is time for more solutions that drive real value for brands and build trust with consumers. The Alliance is the biggest initiative dedicated to taking concrete steps towards digital safety to date. We're proud to partner with all of the organizations who are taking action towards building a better, cleaner, safer web.”

Matt Derella, Head of Revenue and Operations, Twitter: "As the industry continues to evolve, the challenges we face in tackling brand safety issues only get more complex. This is not something to compete on - it is critical that we build trust. We believe having transparent and collaborative discussions with partners and peers, along with investing in technology and resources, can facilitate positive change industrywide."

Norm Johnston, Global CEO, Unruly: “At Unruly, we talk a lot about the concept of “hearts and minds”, and that’s because we never forget that there is always a real person behind the audience and emotional data we work with. We’re conscious of the role that AdTech has to play in delivering a better digital experience, one that is mutually beneficial for brands, publishers and audiences.

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media is a fantastic opportunity for Unruly to work with our industry peers to achieve that goal of a better, safer, more rewarding online experience, and we look forward to promoting its goals through our U7 and UNext initiatives.”

Neal Thurman, Director, Coalition for Better Ads: “Consumer trust and a better online experience are essential to the future of the ad-supported internet. Successfully addressing these challenges will require the collaboration and commitment from all industry participants that this initiative envisions.”

Traci Alford, CEO Effie Worldwide: “Effie proudly supports the Global Alliance for Responsible Media. As the leading global brand in effectiveness, we believe that digital safety and effectiveness are inextricably linked, which ultimately extends to the responsibility we have to protect our communities and our brands.”

Greg Stuart, CEO Global Mobile Marketing Association: “In order to shape and achieve a sustainable connected marketing industry, we must increase the trust and safety for consumers as well as build confidence for marketers in the media and platforms we all use. Our best chance of achieving this is through collective action, collaboration and commitment and MMA stands ready to fuel this initiative with the weight of the entire marketing & media ecosystem.

Safe Harbour

Where relevant, these actions are subject to the appropriate consultations and approvals.

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will', 'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'looks', 'believes', 'vision', or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever Group (the 'Group'). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever's ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; the effect of climate change on Unilever's business; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Annual Report on Form 20-F 2018 and the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2018.

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