Citing the need for “bolder action,” Dave Morgan resigned from the board of the Advertising Research Foundation.
Morgan, the founder and CEO of Simulmedia, has served on the ARF board since 2013, and gave notice Friday, telling the board he believes the ARF is focused on “incremental improvements” at a time when it needs to be “bold and singularly focused on helping advertisers prove that advertising works and fixing its measurement in a world that has rapidly become digital and omni-channel.”
The news came on the eve of its big annual conference -- Audience X Science -- in Jersey City, N.J. today and tomorrow.
Morgan’s departure comes as others have been critical of the ARF’s tepid steps at a time when advertising and media are undergoing accelerated, radical change, and also the fact that it has become more beholden to the media and research supply chain than its original charter of serving advertisers and agencies called for.
One of the key areas of discussion at this week’s ARF conference is its new Code of Conduct, which is completely self-regulatory and relies on allocating a seal of approval for suppliers who agree to its standards, but has no review process or means of enforcement. Critics believe the code falls short of having real teeth.
While Morgan did not cite the code as an example, he told the board and ARF President-CEO Scott McDonald that the real leadership is “happening within the proprietary silos of the large digital marketing platforms” and at organizations like the Media Rating Council (MRC), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
Morgan added that he would instead focus his energy on supporting the efforts of the ANA.
During the ANA’s recent Media Conference in Orlando, Florida, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard called for an entirely new media supply chain to address the significant challenges facing the industry in transparency, brand safety and privacy.
Pritchard singled out the need for overhauling research, data and privacy practices and cited the MRC’s new cross-platform measurement standards as an example of moving the industry forward.
The ARF was created in 1936 by the ANA and the American Association of Advertising Agencies to help the industry organize and conduct research measurement and understanding how advertising works. Over the past decade it has been transformed more into an organization dominated by big digital media platforms and research suppliers.
"We look forward to continuing our long history of demonstrating the effectiveness of advertising as we advance the study and development of attribution analysis and help establish new approaches to audience measurement, an effort now enhanced through our acquisition last year of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement.”