The Marketing Group launches blockchain media agency Truth

Singapore-founded alternative holding company The Marketing Group has launched a new media agency called ‘Truth’ in a bid to bring blockchain to the programmatic exchange.

Mary Keane-Dawson, Adam Graham and Truth CCO Adam Hopkinson

The Sweden-listed company, which is currently made up of 15 acquired agencies, is promising clients 100 per cent transparency with their automated trading following comments by P&G’s Marc Pritchard that the industry is “murky at best, and fraudulent at worst”.

In contrast to TMG’s previous practice of acquiring existing agencies, Truth has been founded organically and will be managed from London by former Ogilvy executive Mary Keane-Dawson.

However, in an interview with Mumbrella Asia, TMG chief executive officer said the agency’s technology would be available to its agencies globally including social media agency One9Ninety in Singapore.

“It’s bespoke technology that we have built,” he said. “We found a way to join up the links in the media buying chain and put the links on blockchain – a single, immutable ledger of all the transactions. It will help clients see where there money is going and should help publishers to get paid more quickly because of the smart contracts it deploys.”

Powered through an Ethereum platform, Truth’s technology uses the same programme as cryptocurrency to track how a media buy makes its way from an advertiser to a media owner.

Here is Cadenza Communications CEO and founder Nick Fawbert explaining how Blockchain works and what it might mean for marketers.

When asked whether clients would be likely to trust a relatively new player with this technology over an established media agency, Graham added: “I think it has to be somebody new. I don’t think any of the big agencies can do it because the vast majority potentially have something to hide. This is a really big issue for the industry. As much as 95 per cent of budget can get eroded through the programmatic chain – including through ad tech players – and there are a lot of murky rebates. A lot of the media agency budgets are coming through the black boxes so they can’t afford to just turn them off.”

The company has not revealed which clients will work with Truth, but Graham added a number were in the process of being signed up. Truth’s launch comes during a crucial period for TMG, which has weathered a number of problems and criticism since its formation by Singapore-based Unity Group in June 2016.

Following an early rollercoaster ride of acquisitions, coupled by a plummeting share price, Graham said the company’s recent focus had been on unifying the existing agencies to act as one body rather than the original “agglomeration model”.

Initially positioning itself as a decentralised alternative to the traditional agency holding group model, the company’s share price inexplicably skyrocketed from €1.23 (S$1.80) to a high of €9 (S$13.3) two months after floating. Since then, the price has dropped to €0.40 at the time of publication, making it worth a fraction of its peak market capitalisation.

However, Graham stressed the share price is stabilising.

The company now has 16 agencies, five of which were founded in Singapore. They are Black Marketing, One9Ninety, Addiction Advertising, Brand Theatre and Creative Insurgence. However, the company has also dropped several agencies such as Imagine Group, Wilkin Marketing and Skye Multimedia.

TMG released its Q3 figures yesterday, which revealed it had a turnover of €7.043 million and EBITDA of €679k.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing