Chris Williams joins the ACA

The former president of IAB Canada lands a VP role with the industry body, as it evolves its digital mission.
Chris Williams 2016

In a move to expand its digital focus, the Association of Canadian Advertisers has brought a veteran of the medium into its fold.

The industry body has hired Chris Williams as VP digital, less than six months after he took on an advisory role with Public Works and Government Service Canada.

Williams, who was also the former IAB Canada president, coming into that role in 2012, is one of three VPs at the organization; Judy Davey joined last year as VP, media policy and marketing capabilities and Paul Hetu is VP, Montreal. 

The organization reshuffled its internal resources and combined that with some increased funding to support its strategic direction towards digital.

The goal of the new hire, according to Ron Lund, ACA’s president and CEO, is to expand efforts to push for greater transparency and accountability on the digital side of the business. “We’ve always have a great footprint with acknowledged leadership, lobbying work and industry work on behalf of our members on the traditional side; we wanted to become champions of digital as well.”

The ACA has been taking a vocal stance on the issue of media transparency in recent months. Following the release of the Association of National Advertisers’ report on media transparency, Davey said that the organization was concerned about similar issues in Canada, noting an inconsistency in rebate returns, as well as a lack of transparency with spend on digital mediums for some of its clients.

The hire of Williams signals the organization’s commitment to continuing the conversation around digital transparency. Williams is a vocal advocate about clearer transparency, dealing with fraud-related issues and cleaning up the supply chain.

The addition of Williams to the VP suite at the ACA strengthens the organization’s ability to respond to a litany of concerns around bot fraud, data ownership, viewability and measurability, said Lund.

“It’s not always clear to marketers what they are dealing with, what model they are using. It’s pretty important for us to start to step in and delineate guidelines and benchmarks.”

In his work as a consultant after he left IAB Canada in 2014, Williams helped advertisers develop RFPs for programmatic partners, as well as understanding digital media buying guidelines.

That’s a skillset Lund said his organization needs and it will begin plugging into William’s intel with a number of initiatives, one of which is to clarify some of the murkiness around the digital ecosystem. Look out for reports that follow the money trail by specifying how much money is funneled into the trading desk, or the DSP or the SSP.

Williams officially started in the role last week.