GroupM targets brand safety with new hire

Higher standards for viewability, ad blocking and anti-piracy will be goals for the media group's new global EVP of brand safety John Montgomery.

GroupM has been tackling digital media issues, including viewability, third-party audience verification and anti-piracy controls in the U.S., and is taking that work international with its latest executive announcement.

John Montgomey has been appointed GroupM’s global EVP of brand safety, a newly created role to tackle digital johnMontgomeryissues for the media group across its global offices. Specifically, he will work with GroupM’s agencies to create a set of global standards for the company’s clients in every market.

“Clients want to know their brands are safe and that the digital components of their media plans are effective in every region in which they operate,” said Rob Norman, chief digital officer, GroupM, in a release on the new position. “And importantly, they deserve to get what they’re paying for – the engagement of their targeted audiences with their brand messages, accountably and safely,”

The hire comes shortly after the release of a high-profile report commissioned by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in the U.S. highlighting – without specifying names – a lack of transparency in the brand-agency buying relationship, in particular with relation to financial clarity and rebates. A second report, released last week, suggested best practices, including clear and binding agreements. In response to the ANA report, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) confirmed that many of its members have similar concerns about transparency in Canada.

The expansion of the brand safety role into a global position, which focuses on digital media, appears to be a sign of WPP’s committment to clients across its international offices.

Montgomery has had a long career with WPP agencies, starting at Ogilvy in 1989 in South Africa, and has since had top-level roles at Mindshare and GroupM. In his most recent position, he worked as North American chairman of GroupM Connect, the media company’s consolidated digital agency platform.