Havas Media launches social equity marketplace in UK

After reporting success with a similar scheme in the US, Havas Media Group wants to make it easier for UK advertisers to buy digital media that targets underrepresented audiences.

Havas Media launches social equity marketplace in UK

Havas Media Group UK is launching a “social equity marketplace” in the UK as a way of offering advertisers an easier route to support underrepresented groups with their digital media investments.

The marketplace focuses on working with media companies that are owned and operated by Black, Asian, minority ethnic, women and LGBTQ+ people. 

Media partners currently include publishers such as The Source, Gay Times, Pink News and Woman Alive. Havas wants to widen the marketplace to other media owners representing diverse groups in order to create a “sustainable” long-term operation.

Starbucks, a Havas Media client, has agreed to be the first brand to use the marketplace, which follows a similar initiative Havas launched in the US in July that focuses on working with “BIPOC” groups (black, indigenous, and people of colour) and LGBTQ+ media. 

Andrew Goode, executive vice-president for biddable media at Havas Media North America, told Campaign the US marketplace was a success because of “strong advertiser support and growing engagement”.

He explained: “We now cover most media within the Black LUMAscape recently released by LUMA Partners. We’re committed to making the social equity marketplace a permanent element of our Meaningful Media investment strategy. Meaningful Media still means effective investment for growth and we’re seeing incremental gains in both media quality and performance from our social equity marketplace partners. 

“Success is also expanding the marketplace into other channels. We recently expanded the marketplace into supporting BIPOC creators in audio and continue to look for more channels to support.”

The UK marketplace is initially focused on programmatic digital media buying as part of the early phase of the marketplace, but Havas Media’s longer-term ambition is to extend this “beyond digital”. It is also currently exploring how to extend this targeted ad buying on connected TV and broadcast channels. 

The launch marks the latest move by a network media agency to reach more diverse audiences as part of a recognition that minority groups are being ignored by the marketing industry. Last month WPP’s MediaCom announced the “Inclusive Planning” initiative – a pledge to shift its media planning approach to always focus on diverse audiences. In 2017, Chris Kenna, the former Gay Times commercial director and military veteran, launched Brand Advance, the industry’s first dedicated global diversity network. 

In June, following the death of George Floyd in US police custody, more than 200 UK advertising and media leaders signed an open letter calling on the industry to address inequality and take action against racism. Kenna was part of a team alongside Creative Equals that called for the industry to take action.

Simon Bevan, chief investment officer at Havas Media Group, is leading on the social equity marketplace initiative.

“At a time where consumer and business sentiment are focused on social action in many forms, Havas Media Group felt it was important to offer our clients a way to make a positive and meaningful impact on society,” Bevan said. “We are uniquely placed to be the first market outside of the US to launch an offering like this, and we’re hugely proud to be able to give our clients the opportunity to support underrepresented groups with their media investment.”