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Unilever’s Commitment for Only One Measurement System

Outdoor Advertising Must Have Only One Measurement System.

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 Outdoor Advertising, one measurement system

Unilever CMCO Keith Weed

Yesterday, I heard and read, about two similar discussions regarding media measurement systems. The former, what I heard regarding Outdoor Advertising. The latter, which I read and will share first, regarding comments from Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Weed.

Weed was quoted in The Drum, of issues he will address at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. He said, ‘he will urge the digital media landscape to clean up its act, with an initiative backed by the promise to sever ties with those it deems unethical.’

Weed’s comments are similar to those made by last year’s keynote speaker, Marc Pritchard, while outlining Procter & Gamble’s plans to cull its roster of digital partners. Weed will share a three point transparency push, to improve the performance of Unilever media spend.

Unilever operates a multi-billion dollar marketing budget. You may not know Unilever, but you know their 400 brands worldwide. A few examples below.

The CPG giant pledges to take a stand against “things they see are not right.”  And here are some of them.

Unilever’s transparency commitments

  1. Unilever will not invest in platforms that do not protect children or which create division in society.
  2. Unilever is committed to tackling gender stereotypes in advertising through #Unstereotype and championing this across the industry through #SeeHer and the #Unstereotype Alliance.
  3. Unilever will only partner with organizations which are committed to creating better digital infrastructure, such as aligning around one measurement system and improving the consumer experience.

Consider point 3 of Weed’s ‘commitments’: Unilever will only partner with organizations which are committed to… aligning around one measurement system.

Unilever will only partner with organizations which are committed to… aligning around one measurement system.

I heard yesterday, from reliable OOH veterans, about discussions creating more than one measurement system in OOH..  I will not discuss the details discovered or anything further today.  Obviously, that would not alignment with Unilever’s commitments.  Suffice it to say, OOH must have only one measurement system, only one currency.  And that is defined by Geopath.

Does anyone believe, Unilever’s CMO, Keith Weed’s ‘commitments’ apply only to Digital Online?

More than one OOH measurement system, would be unhealthy, if not disastrous for the Industry.  Based on recent comments, it would not meet with Unilever’s or P&G’s acceptance. Would multiple systems be accepted by any other Client for that matter?   Considering the highly probable conflicting data output, the effect of multiple OOH measurement systems would severely set our Industry growth back. Expect future posts on the importance of one measurement system soon.

Here is the Drum article⇒Unilever’s Warning

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14 Comments
  1. Rick Seeman says

    Great article William Board! I do agree with the one system of measurement, but there are arguments to be made against it. Number 1 being that evil word “Monopoly”. Is the Geopath system perfect? No. Is it better than the D.E.C. system used by TAB in the past? Most definitely.

  2. Bill Board says

    Good points Mr. Seeman.
    Its a subject all of us in OOH should be taking note, regardless of what side of the ‘arguments’. Thank you for sharing your comments!

  3. Nick Coston says

    Great post, with half of OOH companies using DEC’s, the other half GEO-Path Data, Radar, and some OOH companies coming up with their own metrics, where will we be in 6 months? How can we compare? We need one verifiable, real time data system. That we can use on all boards and compare apples with apples.

  4. Peter MacDonald says

    What a great, timely article Bill.

    Data has been, and will continue to be, the hot button topic in the industry.

    There has always been a desire to push Out of Home further into the media mix. We all want more of the ad spend. This is not a bad thing for our industry. The issue I see is how we are going about it.

    We all want access to this shiny new data, but I fear in our rush to acquire it and put it to use, the OOH industry ia fragmenting more and more each day.

    One media owner uses company X for audience data, and their methodology is different than the the other media company who uses company Y. Then add in the fact that the agency subscribes to company Z and also tries to apply it into a multi channel buy. But which data is correct?

    I am not advocating against enhancing your own offering by providing data at your own cost. But, we need to have an industry baseline for audience and how that is determined. Is Geopath perfect? No. Are they trying to get everyone to the table to navigate it all and help the industry as a whole? Undoubtedly. They are stuck in the unenviable position of having to try to make everyone happy.

    The bottom line is we all want to get a bigger share of the pie. We all believe in the medium and its effects. Most of us are lifers. One of Geopath’s goals should be to focus more on education of the agencies and brand managers about what we do, how we can measure it, why it works, and add in some ROI and attribution and we can hopefully get that seat that big boys table. But we can’t do it if we are all singing a different tune. Geopath can help us all get on the same page if we are willing to.

  5. Bill Board says

    “How can we compare?” Valuable comments right to the point. Thank you, Mr. Coston.

  6. Bill Board says

    Mr. MacDonald, you have succinctly covered most of, if not all, the salient points which are at issue with the subject of one measurement system and the challenges to OOH. Thank you for your well written comments.

  7. Todd Hansen says

    Everybody wants to blame the reason for slow sales and lack of growth in our business to the data issue. We need more data or need to look at different ways to measure the same dam boards that have been in the ground longer than most have been in the OOH industry. I get it. Measuring traffic and the audience around the space that the location occupies is important. TAB, now Geopath, does that and I believe they do a great job. Now if an OOH operator wants to enhance that information then more power to them.

    The problem is, the sales effort and the ability to sell the space or maybe the inability to sell the space. The OOH industry commits so much resources to finding out about the traffic and the audience and we seem to forget the client. I believe we should spend as much time with the client or potential new client, thru market rides and have the clients understand how the OOH industry does a great job of covering the clients needs in the markets.

    I get the fact that there is more data out there, so we need to be aware of that. But it feels like we have gotten away from educating the client about the market and how OOH coverage can deliver great impact.

    What we sell is a powerful visual medium that has to be seen before bought!

  8. Bill Board says

    Mr Hansen, suggesting back to fundamentals in selling and recognizing any sales shortcomings will not be solved by a data clad, magic silver bullet.
    Thank you for your comments!

  9. Andrea Messimer Henley says

    Mulitlpe sources confuse buyers & customers. One unified unbiased measurement system- makes sense- However the source needs to be credible, current, audited, and transparent-
    That being said, relying on audience measurement and location based media sources can be useful but In my opinion it is secondary or complimentary to a pitch. If you’re knowledgeable in the targeted area/marketplace. It’s really quite simple to customize locations to fit customer’s needs. Each OOH format tells its own story and provides value by physically viewing it and the surrounding landscape- Our medium has nothing to hide- that’s the beauty of having tangible assets-

  10. Todd Hansen says

    Andrea , well said 👍

  11. andrea messimer says

    Nice Todd! I agree view it first!

  12. Bill Board says

    Thank you for weighing in Ms Henley.
    The support for one unified unbiased measurement system and the appropriate value given data as a secondary factor in the planning phase is unanimous thus far, from our readers. We appreciate you comments.

  13. Kenneth W Mihill Jr./ Modified Post Message says

    Last I recall Unilever and P&G have always been a “dream catch” from the OOH industry for the last 30 years. In spite of this their total OOH spending has never amounted to a significant percentage of the OOH industry. Why is this issue critical to OOH digital given the above reason? I am not arguing about the advantages of one measurement system for digital OOH but most likely it cannot be the same as the “standard digital media” which is universally acknowledged as not being the same as those offered on electronic media.

  14. Bill Board says

    Thank you for the comment Kenneth. We will locate the ‘spend’ of the CPGs and share it. I think the answer to your question is in your question. Issue would be critical if we were doing more business with them in OOH. Your answer is, they are a ‘dream catch’. Who is calling on the two CPG’s?
    Not just a one time intro meeting to OOH, but a full scale sales calling strategy whereby brand managers and marketing staff at the CPGs are met with on a bi weekly or monthly basis? Let’s move the ‘dream’ to doing. While we are doing so, its important to recognize and maintain the CPGs’ fundamental requirements which includes one measurement system.