Ad Buyer Mediabrands Expands Media Responsibility Grading Program

Mediabrands Media Responsibility Index
(Image credit: Mediabrands)

Media agency IPG Mediabrands updated its Media Responsibility Index (MRI), which aims to grade advertising channels based on their level of brand safety, inclusivity, sustainability and data ethics.

The latest version assesses 150 outlets across 150 platforms, including traditional broadcast and cable, connected TV and over-the-top, digital video and display. Originally, MRI was designed to review social media platforms.

Advertising environments are under the microscope as brands pursue ESG commitments and consumers become more critical of where brands choose to advertise. A Mediabrands survey found that one-quarter of clients adjusted their media mix based on MRI findings, and 90% said they were interested in finding new methods to assess media value beyond price efficiency alone.

"We developed our first media responsibility index in 2020 to determine exact protocols of the major platforms, as people started questioning the impact of social media in their lives, from the prevalence of misinformation to hate speech and data-collection practices," said Elijah Harris, executive VP, global digital partnerships & media responsibility at Mediabrands' Magna unit. 

"We have always believed in the need to bring the lens of media responsibility to a broader set of media types. Consumers digest content and opinions from an ever-increasing list of mediums. It only made sense that this rigor we've developed for social platforms would be translated for a more diversified mix of media partners," Harris said. "With each iteration, the MRI is becoming more robust and establishing itself as a mainstay in driving industry accountability and powering responsible advertising investment."

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In its report, Mediabrands found that traditional broadcast and cable scored high in terms of safety, partly because of its history of being federally regulated.

Tech-proficient digital-first CTV partners are driving higher Data Ethics performance than their traditional-first counterparts, in part due to their origins and operating in a more tech-oriented space, versus a TV-first space, according to the report.

Social media platforms showed continued improvement across the four priorities. Partners attained a 10% increase in Inclusivity, driven by increased focus on internal accountability and creator equity.

"The MRI is an important underpinning of our Media for Good positioning, putting responsibility at the heart of every media decision, as concern over the interplay and societal impact of advertising, media and misinformation increases," Mediabrands global CEO Eileen Kiernan said. "Our clients are increasingly pursuing ESG criteria within their own businesses and we are providing a resource to support these goals along with advocating for stronger, safer standards in media." ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.