Ozy Media may have lost its reception with media buyers

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Carlos watson indicated on Monday morning that he had a lot to discuss with advertisers, even though his company, Ozy Media, has been besieged by a torrent of difficult news regarding its relations with investors, suppliers and staff. “It’s our Lazarus moment,” the executive told interviewer Craig Melvin on NBC’s “Today”.

Madison Avenue is not so sure.

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Watson is receiving a cold reception among the top media buying agencies, according to an executive familiar with Ozy’s recent outreach to those who drive billions of dollars in advertising spending on behalf of top marketers. Watson and Ozy spoke to media buyers about the company taking a “temporary break” and describing a vision in which “Ozy will be back,” the executive said. “It probably falls on deaf ears.” A representative for Ozy could not be reached for immediate comment.

There are reasons to be skeptical when it comes to dealing with Ozy. Since a column appeared in the New York Times a week ago, describing how digital media tampered with a YouTube executive’s testimony in an attempt to secure funding from Goldman Sachs, the company was put aside. Some media have heard harsh stories about overworked Ozy employees. Others detailed fragile, if not non-existent, relationships with media companies like A + E Networks or Amazon.

However, just a few months ago, Ozy had incredible access to the best advertising companies. WPP GroupM in April unveiled a two-year pact with Ozy that provided for the creation of tailor-made video and audio series for the agency’s clients. Ozy also reportedly provided trend consulting services. Dentsu Media, another large media buyer, entered into a three-year partnership with Ozy in March.

Monday, Watson told Axios that the company’s agreements with WPP and Dentsu still existed. Representatives for GroupM and Dentsu did not respond to requests for comment.

Ozy likely benefited from a refocusing of the advertising industry on redirecting customer spending to media organizations owned by executives of color. In recent months, Target, Verizon, and Procter & Gamble have demonstrated a new willingness to work with black-owned businesses or partner with black creative executives. Mediabrands of Interpublic Group, a large purchasing agency, has committed to owning a series of “equity upfronts” that put advertisers in discussion with media that target people from specific backgrounds. Most of the activity comes after months of reflection across the United States, with individuals and businesses examining their actions towards minorities and multicultural audiences in the wake of George Floyd’s murder while in police custody. Minneapolis.

Advertisers have also faced new and growing pressure to think about how their money is spent. A group led by Byron Allen, the entrepreneurial owner of The Weather Channel and a large group of television stations, among other media assets, was advocate with top media agencies and marketers over the past year that the time to support a wider range of media is well past. Allen in april managed to push General Motors, the major U.S. automaker, to pledge to quadruple the percentage of its advertising dollars that goes to black-owned media between 2021 and 2025.

The advertising industry’s treatment of various audiences, employees and the media has come under repeated scrutiny. But the same goes for allocating advertising funds to digital sites that do not have an agreed audience metric. Commercial groups like Assn. national advertisers have repeatedly called for greater transparency in audience and audience data. But there is also the possibility of skewing audience behavior. And new advertising relationships based on so-called “programmatic” distribution mean that advertisers are less aware of the types of media outlets their advertising supports.

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