Unilever Drains the Digital Swamp?


Want to know what a “platform” does? Well, this doesn’t doesn’t help.

Unilever’s Keith Weed will speak at the IAB today. He’ll talk about his frustration with the lack of the “3 Vs” (viewability, verification, value) in social media platforms. But he’s really looking to have his Marc Pritchard moment by threatening to pull Unilever’s spending from social media platforms, with the following manifesto:

Unilever’s transparency commitments

  • Unilever will not invest in platforms that do not protect children or which create division in society.
  • Unilever is committed to tackling gender stereotypes in advertising through #Unstereotype and championing this across the industry through #SeeHer and the #Unstereotype Alliance.
  • Unilever will only partner with organizations which are committed to creating better digital infrastructure, such as aligning around one measurement system and improving the consumer experience.

Bravo for Unilever. Money is oxygen to Facebook and Google. Removing it, in the form of advertiser money, gets the message across. Advertisers and society are frustrated with the “we’re just a platform” B.S. that they hide behind.

The only quibble I have with the Unilever transparency commitments is the corporate-speak. Why not just say*:

  • We won’t spend our money at publishers who publish garbage.
  • Our ads will treat all people with respect.
  • We’ll only buy media that we can measure.

As you listen to and read comments on Mr. Weed’s talk, watch the use of the word “platform.” When you hear that word, it means that the owner of the platform is a middleman who can charge a toll and takes no responsibility for what happens on the platform. In other words, a platform is where a fool and his money are parted by the owner of the platform.

Takeaway: Stop buying non-transparent garbage inventory. Stop feeding “platform” middlemen with your media dollars. Demand accountability from everybody in advertising. And win.

* I’ll just call these the Pilipczuk transparency principles™.

Bonus content

I was looking for images of platforms for the article. Here’s a number of others that I found. All unintelligible and all hysterical.


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