The World Federation of Advertisers – which represents the likes of Unilever, Mars, Shell and Danone – is launching an initiative to create a data ecosystem that properly respects consumer choices and their right to control their own data and goes way beyond the requirements of GDPR.
The group – whose members collectively spend nearly $900bn on advertising each year – has published a Manifesto for Online Data Transparency in an effort to get brands to recalibrate their approach to data more fundamentally across their companies. The goal is to give consumers real control over how and where their data is used with a view to rebuilding consumer trust in online advertising.
The Manifesto calls on brands to commit to action in four key areas: create strong data governance, minimise data collection, provide consumers with real control and choice over how their data is used, and to take much more active control of their data supply chain.
These measures go beyond what is required by GDPR in key areas such as supply chain management and data governance but are more fundamentally aimed at creating a new mind-set that puts people rather than data first. The ultimate goal is to create an online advertising industry that is built on more trust, control and respect for people’s data.
WFA president David Wheldon, who is also chief marketing officer of Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Just as 2017 was the year of media transparency, 2018 is the year of data transparency. Just look at the recent outcry over Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. GDPR is going to flip control back into the hands of consumers and hold brands accountable in a way they’ve never been before. The marketing community needs to go back to thinking first and foremost about the people behind the data, their expectations and their rights.”
The WFA is creating an advisory board, which will look to turn this vision into concrete action. The board will be led by Unilever’s general counsel of global marketing, media and ecommerce Jamie Barnard, who will work with the WFA as well as a cross-functional team of experts from companies including Diageo, Disney, Just Eat, Mars, Pernod Ricard and Shell.
Barnard said: “When it comes to trust, people are instinctive; it isn’t small print that helps them decide, it’s their sense of safety. Data transparency is about bridging the gap between perception and expectation. The Advisory Board will look at ways to make transparency a day-to-day reality for people.”
The board will start by conducting consumer research to help bridge the gap between regulatory requirement and consumer reality in terms of how brands should be using personal data and use those findings to turn the key elements of the manifesto into a roadmap for change.
Danone’s chief digital officer Domitille Doat said: “Data is an invaluable commodity that needs to be treated with the utmost care and respect. In a post-GDPR world, data sharing must be seen in the context of mutual respect and value exchange, a scenario that promises a more sustainable vision for the future of digital advertising. Ultimately, this will lead to greater relevance and trust in mobile and online advertising, more sustainable brand-consumer relationships and better marketing.”
The intended output would include a toolkit for companies to use which identifies best practice in data transparency across three areas; consumer experience, data governance and supply chain management.
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