What does P&G’s ‘Time for Action’ speech mean for UK advertisers?

Posted on Tuesday 01 February 2022 | Jon Mew

The IAB UK's CEO, Jon Mew, comments on the back of P&G's Marc Pritchard's speech at the IAB US Annual Leadership Meeting.

I’m sure many of you have seen the headlines that came out of our North American cousins’ Annual Leadership Summit at the beginning of this week. The speech that garnered the most press attention and praise came from Marc Pritchard of P&G, who delivered an insightful and action-focused session, a true rallying cry for our industry. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the full speech, it’s worth your time and can be seen here

Marc spoke of the four specific actions P&G are taking to ‘invest in raising the bar on the creative craft to drive growth on our brands’.  He also urged other brands to take a similar approach, and I couldn’t agree more-  this is central to the industry moving forward together. I do appreciate it can be complicated sometimes, so have brought together some information on the status of these four points is here in the UK, and what brands who want to take a similar approach to P&G can do. 


Through the cross-industry work of JICWEBS here in the UK, there are industry-wide viewability standards in place across desktop display and video inventory, which are exactly the same as the US MRC standards. There are also certified UK specific vendors that any brand can use to measure the viewability of their campaigns today. 

The MRC (and therefore JICWEBS) viewability standard of 50% of pixels for one second for display continues to cause controversy, but it’s really important to remember this is not an effectiveness measure, simply a standardised ‘opportunity to see’ measure- more of an ad delivery measure than showing if the campaign actually worked. Marc showed a good understanding of this concept and made a very important commitment in his speech to adopt the MRC viewability standard going forward, emphasising the need for everyone in the industry to adopt this one common standard to make viewability work. 

Third party measurement verification 

Digital has long been the most measurable medium, and brands (rightly) have very high standards of the data they expect to see from their digital campaigns, and Marc appears to be no different. What he really focused on though was the topic of the moment, the need for third-party measurement.  I am pleased to say despite digital advertising still being a fairly nascent medium,  we are already seeing fast-moving changes in third-party measurement in the US and here in the UK. 

Recent announcements from Facebook and Snapchat to make third-party measurement easier for brands and shows the willingness of the industry to move in this direction, and I am certain that given time this will continue. 

Lastly, it’s also important to remember that here in the UK we have a long established third-party audience measurement tool in the form of UKOM. UKOM is co-owned by the IAB and AOP, with board representation from the IPA and ISBA, and sets and governs the UK industry standard of online audience measurement. UKOM is a great example of how seriously the digital industry takes independent measurement and collaboration to move things in the right direction.   


Marc took a very mature and humble approach to the thorny topic of transparency in agency contracts. Trust has always been key to a good client/agency relationship, and to be honest this predates digital. We at the IAB encourage other advertisers here in the UK, as P&G have done, to ask questions and seek transparency across all your media buys with your agencies, but also to remain aware of the payment models that are in place. As Marc said, ‘having unprofitable agencies is not good business, and can lead to practices we don’t want, so we’re taking a closer look at matching fees to services to create joint value with our partners’. I believe trust can easily be built between client and agency by making sure the relationship is fair to both parties. 


P&G are tackling fraud by ‘insisting that an entity touching digital media must get TAG-certified during 2017’. I’m pleased to say that again through JICWEBS here in the UK, there is a comparable solution available to UK advertisers. JICWEBS has created a set of anti-fraud Good Practice Principles, and has kicked off a certification programme to audit UK businesses against these principles going forward. It’s still early days, but it’s important to appreciate that we are well on the way to addressing fraud and brands can start work to address this today. 

Overall Marc said some incredibly positive things for the digital advertising industry by asking us all, buy and sell side, to put the consumer first and to focus on the “tremendous power in the collective force of our industry’. We at the IAB are lucky enough to see that tremendous power in our industry being harnessed every day, and want to work with all of you on these issues to ensure that digital advertising can to continue to reach and wow audiences in a way that no other medium can. 


Written by

Jon Mew


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