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This article was originally published by Digiday.

Omnicom Media Group — arguably the last of the agency holding companies to declare a strategy to address supporting minority and diverse media — plans to unveil today the launch of what it’s calling the Diverse Content Creators Network, Digiday has learned.

OMG’s Diverse Content Creators Network is a cross-platform planning and activation system that specifically targets minority-owned and diverse publishers and content creators, Scott Hagedorn, North American CEO of OMG, told Digiday for this exclusive. Expected to go live this summer, the network signed three major platforms as partners: Twitter and two others that declined to be identified at this time, with hopes of expanding the reach to other platforms in Q3 2021.

Other holding company agencies, including WPP’s GroupM, IPG Mediabrands and Publicis, have already made moves to support minority and diverse media through efforts including commitments to spend a percentage of client dollars. However, it remains to be seen if OMG will be able to convince Black-owned publishers that its steps will resonate in any meaningful or long-term way.

With a projected universe at the launch of over 10 million creators, the Diverse Creators Network plans to plug OMG clients directly into content from Asian, Black, LatinX, and LGBTQ+ creators horizontally across platforms. The goal is to eliminate barriers to investment, rather than establishing quotas to fill while building new pathways for clients to access and activate on this inventory. OMG’s media agencies Hearts & Science, PHD and OMD will be the exclusive media agencies handling activation and execution.

The media agency group will house and operate the network through its Omni data platform, tapping into its newly launched 2-million-person consumer panel, OMG Signal, to eliminate bias at the inception point of planning, Hagedorn explained.

“We’re expanding the definition of a diverse publisher to include a new generation of self-publishing media entrepreneurs,” he said. “In making these creators’ content accessible and actionable, we’re exponentially expanding the reach and impact of our clients’ media investments.”

Creators range from stars such as director Ava DuVernay (2.7 million Twitter followers), actor Will Smith (53.8 million Instagram followers) and singer Jason Derulo (46.2 million TikTok followers), to Internet-famous creators including Spencer Polanco Knight (@SpencerX on TikTok with 53.4 million followers), Shayla (@makeupshayla on Instagram with 2.7 million followers) and Ali Kabbani (aka Myth, a Twitch streamer with over 7 million followers).

Clients haven’t been directly briefed yet, said Hagedorn, but he said he’s encouraged by initial feedback: “The reaction from the account teams is always the best indicator of expected client interest and investment. By that barometer, we‘re expecting a high level of participation as the launch rolls out.”

There’s a programmatic twist to the rollout of the Diverse Creators Network, as well, as OMG looks to overcome the built-in bias toward major publishers among the major supply-side platforms. Often, smaller minority publishers end up at the bottom of the programmatic bidding consideration set. That’s why OMG is also partnering with SSPs like minority-owned Colossus SSP, and others, to aggregate diverse digital publishers into a programmatic private marketplace (PMP) where they will sit at the top of the heap.

“Omnicom has a keen appreciation of our inclusive approach to supply — connecting savvy marketers with a cross-section of audience who value brands supporting their community and diverse content,” said Lashawnda Goffin, CEO of Colossus SSP.

“Our goal is to go beyond the agency spending target solutions that have been offered to date,” added Hagedorn. “While well-intentioned, they don’t address the critical need: removing the structural barriers in the media ecosystem that have kept diverse publishers and creators at a disadvantage for far too long.”

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