CVS Rolls Out New In-House Digital Advertising Network

CVS Media Exchange is designed for CPG suppliers

CVS Health logo
CVS said the current climate makes for a great moment for the platform's introduction. Courtesy of CVS
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Today, CVS Pharmacy is introducing a new advertising platform, CVS Media Exchange, or as it’ll be known for short, cMx.

The CVS Media Exchange will cater to CPG brands, and allow them a chance to “efficiently reach existing and potential customers,” according to a statement from the company. Brands using the exchange will be able to take advantage of a slew of placement opportunities, including “in-store advertising and banners on, to programmatic display, online video, social media and search engines.”

Norman de Greve, CVS Health’s CMO, said that the wealth of consumer data—on 74 million consumers—that CVS already had at its disposal made moving into the sell side of media a natural next step for the company.

“For years, we have been using data about our customers to give them great offers,” he said. “As we started to think about our own marketing, we started to use that data in our own marketing, because we knew that we can use that to identify who might like to see different things. What we’re launching is the opportunity for our CPG partners to use that data as well.”

De Greve added that CVS will work “with the CPG partners to use that data to really create custom audiences for them,” and target ads to the best-suited audiences for their product or brand. Companies that utilize the cMx will have access to insights and results from the ads placed through the platform, such as brand sales lift, new buyer growth and brand health, as well as closed loop reporting on the specific audiences their ads are displayed to.

So far, the response to the introduction of the platform has been “phenomenal,” de Greve said, adding that over 50 brands and agencies have expressed interest in using it.

Though the midst of a pandemic may seem an unusual time to unveil a major advertising innovation, de Greve said that for a brand like CVS, it makes perfect sense.

“The consumer interest in health has never been higher,” he said. “That really gives us a real opportunity. And people wanting to drive efficiency in the marketing has never been greater. This sits at the perfect intersection: ‘How do we leverage a trusted brand and help and how do we help drive more efficiency?'”

The extensive data that retailers already have at their fingertips make them a natural fit to create their own in-house media agencies or networks, and indeed, CVS is just the latest retailer to create its own advertising exchange platform. Last year, Target unveiled Roundel, an enhanced version of its Target Media Network, during the Newfronts. Walmart’s own Walmart Media Group follows a similar formula.

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@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.