Masters of Media: 10 minutes with a brand safety lead, Magna Global

08/15 By IAS Team

Name: Harrison Boys

Title: Media Standards Director, EMEA

Joined Magna Global: March 2017

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Like many young kiwis, I wanted to play rugby for the All Blacks. I managed to battle away at local rugby for a few years, but sadly was never going to reach those heights! At the same time, I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to get involved in business and technology in some fashion, but wasn’t sure of the right avenue.


How did you end up working in the advertising industry?

I came back home to New Zealand from spending a year in California after University, and through a family contact I managed to get an interview in an ad agency in Auckland. The interview went well and the industry was attractive because it combined the varied skills I had gained at University and abroad. Also – it provided me with a sought after pay cheque (much needed for a returning traveller).


What is your favourite thing about working at IPG?

The people are great, that’s what always makes a strong work environment. This along with the fact that IPG Mediabrands strive to create a work life balance for every employee – there are always difficulties with this in our industry but to me it seems that we are taking great strides toward making it a reality.


How is IPG championing brand safety for its clients, today?

We try to frame it in a broader conversation around ‘Brand Hygiene’, which encompasses brand safety/suitability, ad fraud & viewability. When we optimise all of our activity to reach certain threshold in these areas, it creates a strong environment for our buying teams to help our clients achieve their business goals. We constantly educate our teams, all the way from account leads through to ad operations, on the best practice in this area so that everyone is championing high media standards for our clients. We will always strive to provide our clients with quality media placements that are sourced using the latest technology, systems and techniques.


Social platforms still have a way to go to reach adequate transparency for advertisers – what advice would you give to them?

I would say that research is critical. Understanding the consumer experience in social media environments is key to understanding how placements and misplacements can affect a brands perception. Without understanding environments like newsfeed in a detailed fashion, we can’t make an informed judgement call on whether a misplacement can occur. There are great strides happening with the introduction of third parties into their walled gardens, which gives us as buyer’s piece of mind when making purchase decisions. I am always of the opinion that you shouldn’t mark your own homework, so it’s good to see that there are steps in the right direction from most of the social platforms.


What is IPG doing to help improve the digital advertising experience for consumers?

We work hard to ensure we are delivering a quality product, and that includes consideration for the consumer experience online. Annoying ad placements make consumers increase contempt for the online advertising industry, so we must strive to improve the quality or the online advertising industry will face serious sustainability issues. Certifications such as the IAB Gold Standard are a great step in the road toward aligning a common set of goals on this within the industry.


What do you think the biggest advancements in digital advertising will be for the industry this year?

From my perspective the biggest thing is getting alignment from all partners to trade on impressions which are ‘safe’ and seen by a human (fraud free, brand safe & viewable). This seems basic on the surface but there is a lot of technology in the background coming together to allow this to happen. IAS’s release of ‘qualified ads’ is a great stepping stone toward this and, as this gains wider traction, I hope this will become the new currency in digital media. The other progression this year is in supply chain transparency – we have seen block chain solutions come up which look to address the issue, but I believe the best way to do this is to ‘uncomplicated’ the programmatic supply chain. As agencies we need to get closer to the inventory source and eliminate players who are taking large margins letting adding little value. The realisation of the two things I have mentioned will increase the value and effectiveness of media for our clients, and also allow publishers who are producing quality content to get their fair share of media spend.


Where can people find you when you’re not at work?

Hanging out with friends, watching & playing sport, going to concerts, or exploring London. I also always try to make opportunities to get out of the U.K. and travel Europe, as for someone from deep in the South Pacific there is a lot to see!