McDonalds, Unilever, Nestlé, Virgin Media and O2 sign up to JICWEBS blockchain project

David Murphy

Five major advertisers and their agencies have joined the JICWEBS pilot project to evaluate how blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), can contribute to resolve the trust, transparency and inefficiency problems the digital advertising industry is facing.

Unilever, Nestlé, McDonald’s, Virgin Media and O2 have joined the pilot, along with their agencies, Mindshare, Zenith, OMG and Havas. They join 13 existing participants, including Sky, Rightmove, GumTree, Sublime, Integral Ad Science and GiveMeSport. JICWEBS is the cross-industry committee that defines standards and best practice for digital advertising.

ISBA, one of JICWEBS’ founding members, is separately conducting a study of the programmatic supply chain. The ISBA study is an end-to-end industry market audit looking to understand the distribution of costs across the supply chain. The two initiatives complement each other: the ISBA study will provide a snapshot of some of the major problems the industry is currently facing, while the JICWEBS pilot is evaluating how a DLT technology platform could be a permanent solution to handle these problems.

“We’re pleased to see good progress being made in the efforts to increase all stakeholders’ understanding of the digital supply chain,” said Stephen Chester, director of media at ISBA. “Our own Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study – conducted by PwC – will provide the industry with empirical evidence that it needs to underpin and drive forward any future technological solutions.”

IAB UK CEO Jon Mew said he is delighted to see so many IAB members taking part in the initiatives. “I would encourage all IAB members to take part in the JICWEBS pilot,” said Mew.

JICWEBS has partnered with London-based tech business FIDUCIA for the pilot which it plans to run across the rest of the year. If successful, JICWEBS will consult with the industry on how best to roll this out in 2020 to raise levels of trust and transparency in the sector.