This article was first published on Communicate ME

In yet another regional first, PHD has secured an exclusive launch partner agreement for Unilever with Digital Media Services (DMS) for its new DMS Video product. PHD’s agreement with DMS is designed to safeguard Unilever’s investments by securing an inventory that adheres to the marketer’s stringent viewability guidelines, a particularly important concern today. The FMCG group will receive privileged access to the Choueiri Group-owned company’s vast portfolio of video properties, including Shahid, Dailymotion and OLN TV. It has recently partnered with TEADS to further diversify and enhance the scale of its video inventory.

Thanks to this partnership, PHD will be able to plan and buy on behalf of Unilever across all DMS’ portfolio of video properties based on strict Unilever viewability guidelines.  Until now, the platforms were only available separately. The move provides better leverage and scale than was previously achievable. Unilever will now enjoy exclusive strategic planning and trading benefits, while ensuring its video ads are viewed within a quality and safe environment.

The announcement is the latest expression of PHD’s drive to raise standards of effectiveness and accountability for its partners and clients. Earlier this year, it joined the rest of Omnicom Media Group MENA in partnering with Moat to achieve new levels of transparency around where digital ads are served and their performance.

“Online video is a dominant part of our media plans. It is also a very complex area. We live in a world where, globally, viewability benchmarks on some of the video platforms are as low as 48.7%*,” Asad Rehman, director of media, Unilever North Africa Middle East, explained. “Consumers should see the messages you have created. It’s Advertising 101. Funnily enough, it seems that this basic rule of advertising isn’t that simple to crack in the digital world. Having a deal structure that ensures viewability is very important for us. We believe our work in this area will help drive industry standards.”

“Challenging the status quo is something we’ve been doing from day one so this opportunity to take digital video planning and buying to a higher level was a natural step for us,” explained Luca Allam, managing director of PHD UAE. “Every innovation, every initiative, every media partnership we engineer is designed to meet the needs of our clients, individually or collectively. This mutually beneficial deal for DMS and Unilever will elevate their respective performance and that’s a major step forward for digital marketing in the region.”

DMS, the digital arm of Choueiri Group, is also making significant efforts to provide strong measurement standards for marketers and advertisers to evaluate and optimize their digital investments. This includes working with Moat as well as their ongoing commitment to top-quality, locally produced content.

“With the region’s population consuming digital video at record rates, video viewership among young people in MENA is already amongst the highest in the world,” explained DMS’ Chief Operating Officer, Michel Malkoun. “DMS Video promises “One Audience, One Platform”. Alongside the most engaging premium video content, DMS Video embraces brand safety and has standardization in measurability at its core. This will enable our valued advertising partners such as Unilever to not only realize better outcomes, but also assist them in gauging and optimizing their digital investments.”