After hitting its initial 2% target, GroupM has expanded the remit of its U.S. Media Inclusion Initiative, inviting clients to pledge to allocate 5% of all media investment to Black, Hispanic, AAPI and LGBTQ+ owned and focused media.
The media buying organization launched the Media Inclusion Initiative in May 2021 with a pledge asking clients to ensure that at least 2% of their media budget would go towards minority-owned media. GroupM Canada announced its intention to increase spend with Black and other diverse media in March of 2022.
GroupM said this week that it has outpaced the industry, with a triple-digit increase in client investment according to SMI data. Shortly after the launch of the Media Inclusion Initiative, 20 GroupM clients, including Adidas, Danone, DoorDash, L’Oréal, Nestlé and Target, committed to spending at least 2% of their annual media budget in minority-owned media.
Gonzalo del Fa, president of GroupM multicultural, told AdAge.com this week that those 20 clients exceeded the 2% threshold, while others that came aboard later are above 1%. “Not all clients are in the stage of saying they want to be part of this,” said del Fa. “So when I look at [GroupM’s] overall numbers, we are a little shy of the 2%. But that’s among every single client that works with GroupM.”
GroupM North America CEO Kirk McDonald said that the company has a responsibility to “accelerate growth through the next era of media,” which means making the industry more inclusive and equitable for all publishers, and helping brands reach audiences that are “representative of the changing face of America.”
GroupM has been seeing “increasing client support” for the initiative, said Matt Sweeney, chief investment officer. “By providing an intentional way for brands to support diverse-owned media we can ensure our clients are providing a platform for diverse voices, ensuring inclusive representation and reaching broader audiences.”
GroupM also announced that it has hired Cynthia Morgan Jenkins as head of supplier diversity to develop and nurture relationships with diverse-owned media and content partners. She will lead the integration of those partners into GroupM client strategies.
The Media Inclusion Initiative reinforces the media buyer’s “Responsible Investment” buying framework, which features five focus areas: Brand safety, data ethics, DE&I, responsible journalism and sustainability. The company said that it “signals a new media era where scale serves clients through a commitment to make advertising work better for people.”