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New advocacy group aims to reconnect advertisers with digital marketing

Unruly has today announced the formation of the U7, a brand and agency-powered council designed to engage the advertising community in discussions around emerging trends and the health of the industry, as part of Unruly’s mission to lead the charge in cleaning up digital marketing.

The U7 is comprised of 10 of the world’s largest advertisers including Nestlé, Unilever, Diageo, Samsung, American Express, L’Oreal, GSK, The Wall Street Journal and Mars. They will be joined by leaders from Wavemaker, Havas, and Carat.

The purpose of the U7 is to create a dialogue with advertisers so they can play an active role in shaping the future of digital marketing. Members will get exclusive access to new Unruly products and features, including Programmatic Guaranteed, which launches globally from October and allows buyers to access guaranteed buys across exclusive sites at a fixed price.

Commenting on the need for a body like the U7, Nigel Conway, Global Head of Media Communications, Nestlé, said: “The industry needs better digital standards particularly with brand safety, and the U7 Council will help us accelerate better practice and accountability with senior industry client leaders and agencies.”  

“We want to prove that adtech can live up to a higher standard of openness and honesty. For too long, clients have had to put up with solutions forced on them by adtech companies,” said Norm Johnston, CEO, Unruly, “the U7 puts brand and agencies in the driving seat. We’re bringing clients inside every team of Unruly, from product development to business practices, and we’ve brought together an incredible bunch of people for some provocative and inspiring discussion.”

The first meeting, subtitled ‘Hearts & Minds’, will explore the role that emotions and trust play in the future of advertising. Special guests bringing their own expertise and insight to the event include  award-winning CMO Dana Anderson, Matt Murray, Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal, consultant and digital guru Rob Norman, and Brian Wieser, Senior Analyst at Pivotal.

One of the long-term goals for the committee is to bring clients closer to the decisions made in adtech, as well as helping advertisers make sense of emerging tech trends, such as the use of emotional intelligence and opportunities presented by ambient technology.

U7 member Luis Di Como, EVP Global Media, Unilever commented:  “Back in February we said we needed to collectively rebuild trust back into our digital systems and wider society – Unilever committed to not investing in platforms that do not protect children or create division in society, creating responsible content and only partnering with organisations who are committed to creating a better digital infrastructure.  Scaling this digital responsibility framework across the industry is the action we need, which is why I am very excited to join the U7 council and to collaborate with like-minded advertisers.”

The first meeting of the U7, hosted by Johnston, will establish a roadmap of future activity for the group, which includes a series of global research projects, summits and workshops. The U7 line up includes:


Amanda Richman, US CEO, Wavemaker, WPP

Ben Sutherland, Chief Digital Officer, Diageo

Colin Kinsella, CEO, Havas Group Media North America, Havas

Jay Altschuler, VP, Media & Partnerships, Samsung

Joe Bihlmier, VP Global Media, American Express

Juan Pendavis, Global Head of Creative & Media, Nestlé

Luis Di Como, EVP Global Media, Unilever

Michael Epstein, CEO, Carat USA, Dentsu Aegis Network

Nadine Karp McHugh, SVP Omni Media, L’Oreal

Nigel Conway, role TBA, IHG

Scott Grenz, VP, Global Head of Media, GSK

Suzi Watford, Chief Marketing & Membership Officer, WSJ


The full U7 agenda is available here, and outputs from the discussions will be published during October.

The U7 will meet in a venue supplied by, one of News Corp’s Move,Inc brands. From a penthouse apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North, the U7 and its guests will enjoy impressive views of Manhattan and the highly coveted Gramercy Park, the only private park in the city.



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