Vice Media slammed the practice of brands targeting audiences based on things like age and gender, calling it unethical and discriminatory. During its NewFronts presentation on Wednesday, the media company introduced a new contextual targeting solution to help marketers move away from the use of personal data in advertising.
“The advertising industry takes a person’s gender, age, and ethnicity, to decide, on the individual’s behalf, what messages they receive, all while making false assumptions and vast generalizations about their identity,” the company said in a press release. “Despite its ubiquity, the use of personal data in advertising to target campaigns according to demographics has become a discriminatory practice.”
To replace audience identifiers, Vice says it is introducing a new contextual targeting solution that lets advertisers go beyond targeting top line subject matters and reach audiences by sub-topics, sentiment, emotion and predictive models. Vice also developed an activation methodology that it says will eschew bias and make data-driven decisions by using a first-party “seed set” based on live creative testing.
Vice highlighted the pitfalls of using personally identifiable data to draw audience conclusions by describing former President Donald Trump and pop superstar Elton John as two 74-year-old "ultra-high net worth" males that advertisers would consider as a "tightly defined target."
"Best of luck creating a campaign that's going to cut through this tightly defined target," said Daisy Auger-Dominguez, chief people officer at Vice Media Group. She says audiences define themselves by passions and values, and that demographics can be discriminatory.
The media group also announced a new partnership to bring Google's Web Stories, a vertical video format, to Vice platforms.