Nestle, McDonald's and Virgin Media enter blockchain media pilot

Jicwebs pilot will evaluate how blockchain can tackle trust problems facing online ads industry.

Jicwebs: pilot uses blockchain to improve trust and transparency in digital advertising
Jicwebs: pilot uses blockchain to improve trust and transparency in digital advertising

Nestlé, McDonald's and Virgin Media are the first brands to take part in Jicwebs' blockchain pilot programme to increase trust and transparency in digital advertising.

The brands are joined by their respective media agencies (Zenith, OMD UK and Manning Gottlieb OMD) and follows calls by the web measurement body in May for the industry to join the project.

The pilot, which runs for the rest of this year, will evaluate how blockchain or distributed ledger technology can help to resolve the trust, transparency and inefficiency problems facing the online ads industry. 

Further stages of the trial will optimise the supply chain and gain operational efficiencies. Jicwebs hopes to announce more partner brands, publishers and tech vendors as the project develops and the supply chain mapping is completed.

Jicwebs has partnered Fiducia, a London-based tech business, for the initiative. If successful, Jicwebs will consult the industry on how best to roll it out by 2020.

Blockchain is a technology with which people or companies can record transactions on a database that is shared across multiple computers instead of a central system, making it theoretically more secure and transparent. It is the technology on which cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is based and has the potential to radically transform the wider application of contracts and record-keeping.

The online ad industry has been plagued by trust and transparency issues. Earlier this year, Procter & Gamble chief marketing officer Marc Pritchard called on the industry to create a new digital ecosystem and admitted that brands had been "overwhelmed by big data and intimidated by algorithms".

Kat Howcroft, senior media and budget manager at McDonald’s, said: "This technology offers us the opportunity to see a truly transparent picture of our investment across the digital supply chain. We are also eager to understand the potential impact that this may have on our ROI and efficiency."