To Help Fight Fraud and Piracy, GroupM Has Named a ‘Brand Safety’ Executive

John Montgomery takes on a new role

GroupM Global announced yesterday that John Montgomery will take on a newly created position within the company, global evp of brand safety.

Reporting up to global chief digital officer Rob Norman, Montgomery will work closely with GroupM's digital and media experts at Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus, Essence and Xaxis, taking some best practices for online safety and viewability and implementing them in markets outside of the U.S., including within the U.K. and Germany, among others.

Montgomery, who, joined WPP in 1989, has held a host of positions within the network, including media director of Ogilvy in South Africa and Group CEO of Ogilvy Group Netherlands. Most recently he served as North American chairman of GroupM Connect. Over the years he has worked to develop programmatic capabilities for WPP and has a background in digital data strategy, innovation and policy, making him the ideal candidate for this newly created role.

So why did GroupM create this new position and what exactly will it do?

"Clients want to know their brands are safe and that the digital components of their media plans are effective in every region in which they operate. And importantly, they deserve to get what they're paying for—the engagement of their targeted audiences with their brand messages, accountably and safely," Rob Norman, chief digital officer, said in a statement.

While Montgomery said that the U.S. has made some big strides in discussing and creating practices to improve ad viewability and brand safety online, the rest of the world is still catching up. Focused on "digital safety in the inventory supply chain," Montgomery will work to help clients around the world ensure their messages are as viewable as possible online.

Last year, GroupM rolled out a set of guidelines insisting that all of its media partners secured anti-piracy certification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG). The idea behind the move was to reduce the some $200 million that is spent each year on websites filled with pirated content. Now clients across the globe are looking for similar policies to be implemented. 

"Our global teams and our clients around the world have said it's all very well that you're doing those initiatives in the U.S. to protect clients' brands, but how can we roll those out globally?" Montgomery said. "While we've been very engaged in sharing what we do in the U.S., globally, we felt it was time to focus on rolling these programs where we can out to the world outside of the U.S."