IBM, Pfizer join blockchain consortium for accountability in digital advertising

Advertising workflow software company Mediaocean and business design partner IBM iX launched a blockchain consortium for the digital media supply chain, the companies announced June 19.

The consortium — which comprises advertisers, agencies and publishers including Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer, Unilever and IBM Watson Advertising — will focus on strengthening transparency and accountability in digital advertising using blockchain, a permanent distributed ledger of online transactions or exchanges.

Unlike a traditional database that is centrally located and maintained by one party, a blockchain record is shared among a network of users. Many companies and developers have argued the distributed nature of blockchain records will support transparency and accountability.

"Digital advertising can be tremendously valuable for companies and customers alike, but in any advertising medium, transparency, trust and simplicity are central," Risa Wexler, vice president of media, digital chops and innovation at Pfizer, said in a June 19 statement. "A blockchain solution has extraordinary potential to bring all three to the ecosystem."

As part of the consortium, Mediaocean and IBM also will launch an advertising blockchain tool in July. The tool, powered by the IBM Blockchain platform, will provide visibility into the advertising supply chain, from when a company issues a purchase order to the execution of the advertisement.

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