GroupM has formed the Media Inclusion Initiative, an integrated investment strategy to support and grow diverse Black-owned media companies and creators. The program, the latest in the ad agency’s Responsible Investment framework, includes a 2+% Pledge and “Diverse Voices Accelerator” positive impact fund.
“The Media Inclusion Initiative represents GroupM’s long-term strategy for supporting diverse media,” Kirk McDonald, GroupM North America CEO said in a release. “In the immediate term, the Media Inclusion Initiative does two things: It invests in Black-owned media companies and creators that exist today, and it invests in supporting new Black-owned media companies and creators for tomorrow. As we head into this week’s Black Owned Media Upfront, we look forward to making these investments collaboratively with our clients.”
The 2+% Pledge invites GroupM clients to invest at least two percent of their total annual media budgets in Black-owned media. The agency says invitations to clients and planning is underway with activation projected in the next 12 months.
Additionally, GroupM’s global content investment and rights management company Motion Content Group las launched the Diverse Voices Accelerator. The platform will support writers, producers, directors, talent and production companies in the development, funding, distribution and marketing of premium content for GroupM’s clients. First focusing on Black-owned initiatives and companies, it will eventually expand to represent other traditionally underrepresented communities in entertainment and media.
“As the largest global media network, we are in a unique position to create scaled programs like the Media Inclusion Initiative that can effect enormous change in the media industry,” Christian Juhl, GroupM Global CEO added. “While this commitment of 2+% could represent support and investment of up to 30% of all available Black-owned media, our long-term hope and goal is that it helps create more opportunities for Black creators, producers and Black-owned businesses.”
GroupM is the latest agency to help minority media groups.
Last year, Dentsu Media launched Project Booker to steer more dollars to minority outlets.
“These minority-owned broadcasters and businesses have deep relationships with their listeners, and oftentimes we overlooked that because we were looking at the CPM or at the ratings,” CEO Doug Rays said when making the announcement last November. “We have been looking for value by looking for cheaper media that doesn’t necessarily correlate to brand growth.”
The American Association of Advertising Agencies, or the 4A’s, also unveiled a new initiative designed to funnel more ad dollars to minority-owned radio stations and media outlets. CEO Marla Kaplowitz said after the death of George Floyd last May, an “awakening happened” in the ad community that it needed to do more to address the disparity along racial lines in how media buys have been placed. The result is a five-point commitment, developed through a series of meetings over the course of several months last year.