Publicis Media launches marketplace that targets ‘underrepresented communities’

New service aims to make media buying more inclusive.

By Arvind Hickman

Publicis Media has launched a programmatic marketplace that allows brands to reach underrepresented communities and advertise with inclusive publishers.

The Diverse & Inclusive Media Exchange (DIME) will be available to clients of media agencies Spark Foundry (where the service is managed), Zenith and Starcom.

It will offer advertisers two services programmatically through the Publicis Inventory Exchange (PIE). The first provides access to inventory from publishers that target underrepresented communities. Publicis Media is partnering with global diversity media network Brand Advance to help advertisers connect with more than 500 publishers that produce content for different underrepresented groups, including ethnicity groups, the LGBT+ community, young people, older audiences, people with disabilities, those of different religious beliefs and so on.

The second part of DIME uses existing publisher partner relationships, initially with the Guardian Media Group and Reach, to match brands with inventory that adheres to a set of inclusive values. In essence, it is about avoiding content that labels different communities and underrepresented groups with negative stereotypes.

Publicis Media has tied up with journalism and technology credibility tool, NewsGuard, to help with verification of “responsible journalism”.

Spark Foundry head of performance insights Azad Ali told Campaign the aim of DIME is to help brands connect with underrepresented communities all year round, rather than at specifical cultural calendar landmarks, such as Chinese New Year or Ramadan.

“Brands have become more aware of the opportunities to reach underrepresented communities and to create meaningful and authentic dialogue all year round,” he said.

“Brands have been able to engage with communities during certain times of the year, but what has been missing is being able to target audiences with an always-on approach. This builds authenticity into media plans and will resonate a lot more with these communities.”

Aside from client demand, creating more inclusive media buying has been driven internally by Public Media staff.

“The marketplace will allow us to identify publishers and networks that are able to reach a broader section of society in a responsible and inclusive manner,” he added. “Initially the focus is to get this right for digital content, but over time we would like to ensure that buying media in an inclusive and responsible manner is as easy as possible irrespective of the media channel.”

Publicis Media chief executive Sue Frogley said: “We aim to be constantly evolving our tools and solutions to make sure that we are reaching the right people at the right time and not excluding those who may be valuable audiences. With this new marketplace, we are moving away from blocking audiences to delivering more inclusive content for our clients than ever before.”

NewsGuard co-chief executive Steven Brill said DIME would help “make advertising a real force for good by supporting high-quality news publishers serving underrepresented communities”.

“These diverse publishers are disproportionately harmed by keyword blocking, so this initiative to include these sites in programmatic advertising campaigns will make a big difference in supporting important journalism that badly needs the revenues,” he added.

Publicis Media is due to start implementing client campaigns using the marketplace over the next few months.