GroupM this morning announced it is putting its money where its inclusive mouth is, pledging to allocate at least 5% of its clients’ ad budgets across Black, Hispanic, AAPI and LGBTW+ owned and/or focused media.
The pledge follows the release of data from Standard Media Index (SMI) this week indicating that despite massive growth in the past couple of years, diverse-owned media outlets represented less than 2% of all U.S. national ad spending in 2022.
That report, released Tuesday by the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing in partnership with Maven/Media Framework, shows that for all the inroads the U.S. ad marketplace has made in increasing investments in diverse-owned media, it’s still a fraction of national ad spending.
“As the largest media investment company in the world, we have a responsibility to accelerate growth through the next era of media,” GroupM North America CEO Kirk McDonald said in a statement announcing the new pledge. “That means making our industry more inclusive and equitable for all publishers. As well as, sharing brands’ products and services with audiences that are representative of the changing face of America in service of growing their businesses.”
The pledge is part of an ongoing commitment GroupM has made to investing in diverse media-owned companies — dubbed “Media Inclusion Initiative” — and the agency says that during the first 18 months of the program, it has “outpaced the industry with a triple-digit increase in client investments in Black-owned media, according to SMI data.
As part of today’s announcement, GroupM said it created a new head of supplier diversity role, and hired Cynthia Morgan Jenkins to lead it. Jenkins, who reports to GroupM Multicultural President Gonzalo del Fa, joins from Dentsu, where she was director of investments.