GroupM Operationalizes Data Ethics with A Proprietary Scoring Logic, Criteria and Standardization Tool

Partners with Unilever on launch of first of its kind ethics tool named Data Ethics Compass

New York (February 1, 2021) — GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, today announced the launch of the industry’s first tool to operationalize data ethics. Available today as a global web app, Data Ethics Compass uses a proprietary scoring logic to democratize ethical advertising, allowing advertisers to quickly and consistently evaluate the ethical risk level of data assets and decisions informed by that evaluation. GroupM partnered with Unilever, a longstanding proponent for responsibility in media and data usage, to develop an iteration of the tool responsive to Unilever’s mission and vision.

“Our Data Ethics Compass provides clients a consistent approach on how best to navigate ethical risk and prioritize and respect the privacy of people on the other side of the screen,” said Krystal Olivieri, GroupM’s Global SVP for Data Strategy and Partnerships. “This new capability demonstrates GroupM’s belief that even though you have access to certain data, it doesn’t mean you should always use it. We have an obligation as an industry to re-establish an appropriate balance.”

A key benefit of Data Ethics Compass is that it removes subjectivity from ethical decisions and offers a single codified framework for all teams and all data types across the planning life cycle. A core feature is the proprietary scoring logic that examines data-related decisions to determine potential ethical risks of data-driven campaigns through the consumer’s lens.

Nicola McCormick, GroupM General Counsel, adds: “The burgeoning of privacy protection laws around the world reflects the widespread consumer demand to have the interests of the individual paramount in considerations concerning data usage. With ethics ranking three times more important to company trust than competence, binary decisions taken on whether data is ‘opted in’ or not are no longer sustainable in our industry. GroupM’s Data Ethics Compass enables us to think more holistically about data use and the impact on the end-user.”

Data Ethics Compass is GroupM’s latest innovation in its ongoing commitment to make advertising work better for people by creating a more united, whole and responsible technology and data approach through powerful analytics and performance capabilities. In launching with Unilever, GroupM is working closely with its media agency, Mindshare, to apply the tool and framework to Unilever’s data-driven media activations. In service of the tool’s development, Mindshare has evaluated and collaborated on numerous active campaign and brand scenarios with Unilever to embed the ethical frameworks into everyday use.

“Creating a responsible digital ecosystem continues to be a priority for Unilever and adding an ethical overlay for use of data in media is a key next step,” said Jennifer Gardner, Unilever’s Senior Director of Media. “Consumers are growing increasingly distrustful of advertising and lack clarity in how their data is being collected and used in profiling tactics. Our partnership with GroupM on the launch of this much-needed tool sends a reassuring and bold signal that we must all hold ourselves, our partners and agencies to the highest standards, truly putting consumers first.”

About GroupM

GroupM is the world’s leading media investment company responsible for more than $60B in annual media investment through agencies Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/SIX, as well as the outcomes-driven programmatic audience company, Xaxis. GroupM’s portfolio includes Data & Technology, Investment and Services, all united in vision to shape the next era of media where advertising works better for people. By leveraging all the benefits of scale, the company innovates, differentiates and generates sustained value for our clients wherever they do business.

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