Havas Media Group said it appointed Ben Downing as Global Managing Director, Ethical Media and Strategic Partnerships.
Downing, most recently led the roll out of Havas' Social Equity Marketplace, will be based in London and work to have the agency deliver on items in the media buyers’ Ethical Media Manifesto.
The move comes at a time when agencies are taking a bigger role in making sure that data is being used responsibly and marketers are taking a closer look at how much money they’re spending with minority owned media.
“This is a new role for the agency but formalizes accountability for something we have been working on for three years,” said Greg James, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Havas Media Group. “We have been ahead of the curve in our ethical media practices, and Ben has been a big proponent and leader of that progress within the agency. I’m proud of our progress, and Ben and our teams’ work toward it. I am excited to see where we can take our responsibilities next, as there is much more to do as a business, an industry, and beyond.”
Downing will work with media owners, platforms and industry groups on what the agency calls Meaningful Media and his appointment follows the release of the agency’s Meaningful Brands study in 2021, which revealed that consumers' expectations that brands act for the good of society was at an all-time high.
The Havas Group was the first to launch the carbon impact metric in France and the first global holding company to join the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN).
As head of biddable media for Havas, Downing pioneered ways to monetize hard news.
“Meaningful Media was transformative for biddable media. It allowed us to tackle the gap that had developed between technology and ethics,” said Downing. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to work in a wider remit to deliver real and lasting change for our agency, our advertisers, and the industry. Like most of us in the industry I’m showing up with an open heart and a clear understanding of our responsibility and opportunity for change.”
He will return to the University of Cambridge to undertake post-graduate study in sustainable business.
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