‘We should’ve done this right the first time’: GroupM North America CEO Kirk McDonald on responsible investing

Digiday 03 May 2021 04:01
May 3, 2021 by Seb Joseph

A broader sense of purpose from companies is welcome but must be measured, particularly when it comes to advertising. Doing so, however, requires new standards, according to the CEO of GroupM in North America Kirk McDonald.

In fact, the media agency is now measuring its media planning and buying against five principles: brand safety, data ethics, DE&I, responsible journalism, and sustainability. The hope being that the principles help advertisers reconcile the pursuit of financial rewards with the impact it has on employees, customers and the environment. 

“The five pillars we’ve established are important to almost every client who feels like advertising should be purposeful and have some goal that goes in complement to help me get more customers or sell more product,” said McDonald. “Not that any of our clients have said ‘I’m OK with 20% of my budgets being diverted to suitability issue or DE&I initiatives.”

Marketers have told GroupM execs they want both. As McDonald explained: “Clients want 100% of what they had before but they can use the creative messaging or the delivery mechanism to make it do something else too.”

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