Origin to Go Live “This Summer” Says New ISBA President Pete Markey

Dan Meier 10 July, 2024 

Origin, the cross-media measurement initiative led by ISBA, will go live this summer with 35 members of the UK advertising trade body on board. The announcement was made by the new ISBA President, Pete Markey, CMO of Boots, in his inaugral speech at the ISBA President’s Lunch.

ISBA launched Origin in 2019 with the aim of delivering on advertisers’ ‘North Star’ for cross-media measurement. Trials began last summer, with EE, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, P&G and Unilever participating in initial tests of the tool. Now the product is preparing to go live, with Boots among the 35 advertisers signed up at launch.

The Boots CMO spoke about the project’s benefits to the health and beauty retailer, citing “the ability to surface all the data necessary to make media planning decisions”, thereby maximising the efficiency of Boots’ advertising activity. “We will no longer be making decisions with missing data,” he said. “This in turn means we can reinvest savings into more effective marketing.”

Origin is designed to enable advertisers to accurately measure a campaign delivered across different channels. Markey said this will allow the brand to avoid excessively targeting the same consumers. “We know this is one of the main reasons why public trust in advertising has declined,” he added.

Once launched, the service will be funded by users paying to access the data, meaning “advertisers will be the biggest funders of Origin moving forward,” according to Markey. 

“Origin is going to be a gamechanger for marketers and media planners across the UK, and as an industry we should be rightly proud that the UK is going to be the first region to make cross-media measurement a reality,” he said.

“A measured approach”

Markey replaces outgoing ISBA President Margaret Jobling, CMO of NatWest, and previously served as Vice President. He also chairs the Advertising Association’s Front Foot network, which seeks to promote public trust, talent, inclusion and climate action in the industry. His speech addressed the need to respond to the decline in public trust in advertising, alongside securing a sustainable future, and advocating for diversity and inclusion.

“My Presidency also coincides with a new political agenda,” said Markey. “The new Labour Government has committed to backing business and supporting social responsibility. Both of these obviously resonate with me but we need consistency and stability if this is to happen. This includes enabling long-term relationships with the government departments. ISBA’s Public Affairs team has already established a relationship with the newly appointed Minister of State in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sir Chris Bryant, which will stand us in good stead.”

He also said he would be “flying the flag” for retail media, noting that Boots Media Group was part of the working group behind ISBA’s Responsible Retail Media Framework, which aims to provide standardisation across the fragmented ecoystem. “It was achieved through close collaboration between brands and retailers which is essential as this marketing channel continues to grow and develop,” he added.

His speech additionally reflected on the challenges and opportunities of AI. Last year saw ISBA and the IPA publish 12 guiding principles for agencies and advertisers on the use of generative AI. “These are not designed to stop the use of Gen AI,” he said. “They exist to provide guardrails that ensure we embrace AI in an ethical way that protects both consumers and those working in our industry. It’s essential that we take a measured approach as we move forward into this brave new world.”

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