Havas Media Group UK has launched a new sustainability marketplace, which enables clients to invest in ethical and responsible advertising, in order to drive positive change as part of their sustainability agendas.
Here, Simon Bevan, Chief Investment Officer, Havas Media Group UK, tells Dare! about the initiative and how it links into the agency’s ongoing commitment to making a meaningful difference to brands, businesses, and people, and its mission to understand the most “Meaningful Media”.
Tell us about the Sustainability Marketplace and why it was launched.
The sustainability marketplace was launched as part of our ongoing commitment to making a meaningful difference to brands, businesses, and people, and our mission to understand the most “Meaningful Media” to really move consumers to action.
But I think more importantly it was born out of a passion from the UK Programmatic Hub who felt really strongly about bringing the offering to life – to me that is the most exciting thing about the whole project, empowering the team who want to make a positive impact through their work.
Existing Havas Media Group UK clients EDF, Giffgaff and O2 are the first brands to sign up. What can brands signing up to the marketplace expect?
Brands signing up to the marketplace will be offered access to publishers and networks that are focussed on building a sustainable media ecosystem, as well as sustainability-oriented content, and can also reach audiences who are engaged with sustainability issues and ready to drive change.
To be part of the sustainability marketplace, clients and partners are asked to have pledged to making positive changes for society and the planet. The entire UK Havas Village has an ambition to become B Corp certified, and we are encouraging clients who want to take advantage of the marketplace to explore the opportunity and whether that can work for their own organisations. Participating publishers must pledge to abide by the Conscious Advertising Network’s manifestos.
We have also taken our sustainability roadmap with clients a step further and are one of two agencies who are members of #ChangeTheBrief Alliance. This is a partnership between agencies (media, creative, design, PR) and their clients, learning and acting together to directly address the challenge of the climate crisis by promoting sustainability via every channel available to them. In October we embark on this programme with EDF.
How does this tie into our Social Equity Marketplaces launched in 2020 and Meaningful Marketplaces launched earlier this year?
The social equity marketplace is another fantastic initiative which has resonated with many of our clients in the UK. As part of our ongoing commitment to DE&I the UK team have worked closely with Ben Downing and the global team to create a consistent and coherent approach to meaningful marketplaces. It has changed how we think about productising our programmatic offering to create a clear narrative with clear benefit to publishers as well as our clients. With this changing mindset and our commitment to being a force for good through meaningful media, I am confident that there will be more marketplace products to celebrate in the future as our offering evolves.
Why is this offer and Meaningful Media so important in the current market?
Meaningful Media was born out of our belief that ‘not all impressions’ are equal. Whilst we started this journey in 2018, the evolvement of our Mx (Meaningful Experiences) approach to media, gives us a clear USP in the market that we know is more relevant than ever with the challenges many have experienced in the digital supply chain and the choice that viewers and consumers have. We are seeing first-hand the benefits of working (and pitching) for clients using our Mx framework that enables us to drive Meaningful Outcomes for their business challenges and activating insight driven planning in the right media environments based on the 3 C’s principle (context, content and connection).
How important is it for Havas to be able to guide clients to take positive action and present opportunities to do so like this marketplace?
Being a positive force for good and creating marketplaces or being a member of #ChangeTheBrief Alliance to support our ambitions is key, but genuinely displaying a passion in our positioning and bringing to life these products I believe gives us added credibility vs other agency groups.
Only this week I have seen the importance of our credentials in supporting DE&I and sustainability, where in three new business pitches at both RFI stage and chemistry sessions, we were asked to demonstrate how we can support their ambitions and push their businesses forward to make positive change in these areas.
Underpinning this by supporting industry initiatives such as the Conscious Advertising Network and Ad Net Zero ensures HMG UK credibility in this space and puts us at the forefront of these movements to drive positive change.
What are the goals for the remainder of 2021 and beyond?
2021 has been an incredibly busy year for HMG UK & I envisage the fast pace of business will continue through to the end of the year, including the new business market which is red hot at the moment! As well as looking after both current and prospective clients, we are also embarking on an Mx reboot to super charge 2022 planning and bring all new recruits up to speed. Led by our Head of Planning, Jackie Lyons, we start a 5-week programme in October deep diving into each phase of the Mx framework.
We want to continue to build the positive momentum we have created over the last 18 months and hopefully that will become easier as we now embark on our journey of hybrid working between office and home – we started last week with over 300 of the agency staff coming together in our summer company meeting face to face in Regent’s Park. It feels great just to interact with teams more regularly in person.
But most of all, we want to be known as a force for good, empowering the teams to make positive change through meaningful media and make HMG the best working environment it can be.