Months before the EU implements the most punitive consumer privacy laws ever established to regulate the advertising, marketing and media industries, WPP Group, the world’s largest advertising company Thursday disclosed it has spent years reviewing its consumer data and feels “reasonably well prepared for GDPR.”
“Given the data we house within our media business, and our investment management business, we’ve been very careful and cognizant,” Finance Director Paul Richardson said during WPP’s quarterly presentation to investors.
“We have actually, for five years, been carrying out a sort of data health checker to track what data we are hosting, owning, controlling within our businesses. And identifying the flows between the various businesses, to and from clients, and to and from various geographies,” he said, adding that it has been an arduous task.
“Our data traditionally has never had to be unbundled and taken apart in a manner it may have to be in the future,” Richardson explained, adding that WPP has undergone a “data anonymization and minimization” process across is business units “in order to mitigate the risk and we’re working closely with our major clients in this area.”
Richardson did not disclose specifics of the plan or process, but said “t has been quite clear that we need to be flexible in terms of how it is going to share us going forward.”
Ironically, in the same investor presentation, WPP showcased how it is leveraging its formidable proprietary consumer data insights as a response to big digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba and Tencent “going direct” to its clients based on their ability to gate-keep and leverage the unique data they have on consumer media behavior.
WPP’s platform, dubbed “[m]Platform,” was touted as a “single-source of truth for media activity,” and one that presumably is now 100% anonymized and GDPR-compliant.