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The 2020 IAB Annual Meeting: IAB Introduces Project Rearc: “Urgent Need to Put Consumers at the Center of Everything We Do.”

Over 1,200 Top Media and Brand Executives meet to Harmonize Personalization, Privacy and Community


NEW YORK and PALM DESERT, CA – February 10, 2020IAB, the digital media and marketing trade association, today called on the entire marketing-media ecosystem to “rearc” digital marketing to harmonize privacy, personalization, and community.

Speaking to 1,200+ senior digital media and technology industry executives at the Association’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, CA, IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg asked industry leaders from the brand, agency, publisher, platform, and technology industries to join together and change the arc of digital marketing “to at last put consumers in the safe, sane, exciting center of everything we do.”

Project Rearc will bring together IAB, IAB Tech Lab, governmental, and other industry/consumer organizations with the goal of creating standards of behavior, codes of conduct, legal agreements, and enabling technologies to address consumer demands for personalization, and privacy.

The Industry Agrees

Top executives, including Alysia Borsa, Chief Business and Data Officer at Meredith Corporation; Steve Katelman, EVP Strategic Partnerships at Omnicom Media Group, and David Spector, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of ThirdLove, immediately joined the call for collaboration.

“We deeply respect our customers’ privacy, but they are also the ones craving the personalization that we bring to them,” said Spector of ThirdLove, the leading women’s direct-to-consumer lingerie brand. “We — along with so many other online businesses — absolutely need IAB, IAB Tech Lab, and other industry organizations to help harmonize privacy, personalization, and community.”

“What I feel is most important is coming together to engage the industry in an education campaign that helps real people understand the quid pro quo of advertising in a free content world – and a listening campaign that makes sure we solve for their fear and apprehensions when they surface,” added Katelman of Omnicom, the world’s second largest advertising holding company.

“Our success is based on our ability to predict trends and deeply understand our consumers,” said Borsa of Meredith, the giant magazine media company. “We need a trustworthy supply chain that will allow us to use that knowledge and data to optimize and personalize our content, our offers, and our advertising. Today, our consumers trust us with their data, but they also trust that we will keep it safe.”

“The fact that 81 percent of consumers want brands to get to know them well enough to know when to approach them and when not, yet 73 percent of consumers say their concerns over data privacy are growing is not a contradiction,” said Rothenberg. “Rather, it is perfectly consistent with ‘the eternal quest of human beings to be valued as individuals, within the context of living in families, communities, and cultures.’”

Billions at Stake

Billions of dollars are at stake. Econometric research by John Deighton (Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School) unveiled at the conference shows that the elimination of digital marketing personalization would mean a loss of $32-$39 billion in ad revenue on the Open Web by 2025, “with more than 90% of those revenues shifting to walled gardens.”

A Better Future Awaits, But It’s Up to Us to Create It

IAB’s announcement comes in the immediate wake of Google Chrome announcing it will phase out third-party cookies, as well as the first month of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) being underway.

IAB and IAB Tech Lab have begun convening member-company business and technical teams to draft requirements and consider approaches to support the industry and manage consumer privacy, safety, identity, and other needs in the post-cookie digital marketing supply chain.

“The cookie’s death can lead to a better future for digital media globally. It’s an opportunity to change the practices, controls, and value surrounding personal data to favor consumers. IAB and IAB Tech Lab have already been hard at work, engaging our members to define practical solutions,” said Dennis Buchheim, EVP and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “In the coming year, Tech Lab will undertake one of its most comprehensive initiatives to create technical standards, guidelines, and potentially a compliance program to support members – and consumers.”

Long History of Collaboration

“Cross-industry collaborations led by IAB, ANA, and 4A’s already has saved the industry $81 billion,” Rothenberg said.

Most recently, IAB and IAB Tech Lab collaborated with hundreds of brands, publishers, and technology companies to develop the CCPA compliance tool. To date, more than 200 companies have adopted the framework for compliance.

Rothenberg told attendees, “Like all of us, the internet is imperfect – and like all of us, it can get better. It can listen more acutely. It can learn. It can adapt. It can stop unhealthy practices, and with exercise, it can grow a healthier heart.”

To get involved with Project Rearc:
Visit: www.iab.com/rearc
Email us at: [email protected]
Join the conversation on Twitter: #IABRearc

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media companies, brands, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contacts
Danielle DeVoren / Britany Tibaldi
212-896-1272 / 347-487-6794
[email protected] / [email protected]

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