Horizon Media, Nielsen eye multicultural consumers with new planning platform

    • Horizon Media and Nielsen partnered on a solution to help marketers better account for multicultural audiences in their communications and media planning, according to an announcement. Horizon developed the concept while Nielsen provided the software and data backbone.
    • Called eMbrace, the platform recalibrates population-based survey and panel outputs to place a more equitable emphasis on Asian, Black and Hispanic consumers. It also provides marketers with an “equity index score” that looks to foster stronger connections with polycultural groups and drive business outcomes that might be missed using a traditional approach.
    • EMbrace draws on a mix of Nielsen data and third- and first-party data from marketers to inform its analysis. Horizon is using the platform as part of its planning for the upfronts, where diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been a bigger discussion point in recent years.

    Horizon, one of the largest media agencies in the U.S., is trying to implement a more nuanced method of media planning around multicultural audiences with eMbrace. The platform developed with Nielsen puts a stronger focus on diverse groups, with the goal of identifying actionable business opportunities that might be downplayed or “washed out” in a typical general-market analysis, per the announcement.

    The timing of the announcement shows Horizon putting diversity front-and-center ahead of the upfronts, a key period where marketers and media buyers map out their advertising strategies for the months ahead. Horizon said it handles more than $9.5 billion in media investments.

    The upfronts have become a lively venue for DEI discussions in recent years as the ad industry faces a larger reckoning with race. Agencies have made varied responses to engage groups that are historically viewed as underserved. Magna Global, the investment and intelligence arm of IPG Mediabrands, will host its second Equity Upfront this year. The event is intended to attract brand dollars to more diverse media owners.

    Data-driven technology is also playing a bigger role in helping advertising advance its diversity initiatives, as evidenced by solutions like eMbrace. Nielsen has other bets in the space. The firm’s Gracenote division has rolled out an analytics tool that can measure diversity figures in streaming and linear TV programming. IPG was an early adopter of Gracenote Inclusion Analytics as part of its DEI commitments.

    Horizon and Nielsen have previously worked together. Several years ago, the agency was the first to use Nielsen’s Advanced Audience tool for tracking more granular segments on linear TV. Nielsen’s traditional ratings business has come under fire in recent months after the company undercounted out-of-home figures during the pandemic.


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