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OMD and Henkel Implement Blockchain Powered Solution To Address Fraud, Privacy Problems In Ad World

When it comes to digital advertising, two of the biggest pain points continue to be fraud and privacy. Just last week, yet another fraudulent scheme was exposed where bad actors infected nearly one million mobile devices and collected revenue from unsuspecting advertisers. On the privacy front, ongoing GDPR regulations and the impending death of the third-party cookie have the entire industry – even the big guys – searching for a solution. 

But divisions of global agency OMD and billion-dollar consumer brand Henkel have already found their solution via blockchain ad consortium AdLedger. In a recent partnership, OMD Italy and Henkel Italy applied AdLedger’s open-source tool set CryptoRTB, which leverages blockchain and cryptography to improve the integrity of the media ecosystem.

The CryptoRTB protocol is powered by the MadNetwork blockchain, and was developed by sister company MadHive. The technology has both advertising and enterprise applications, and has already been adopted by partners like Verizon to power its Full Transparency initiative that is designed to raise the bar for corporate accountability. 

“Cryptography has been keeping sensitive information safe on the internet for decades, and now, with privacy regulations and third-party cookies taking center stage, we finally see industry giants understanding its potential for advertising,” said Christiana Cacciapuoti, Executive Director at non-profit consortium AdLedger. “This activation at scale proved that cryptography and blockchain can keep up with digital media when architected properly, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what CryptoRTB can enable.”

Industry giants like Google are in fact leveraging cryptography in their recently proposed FLoC solution, in an attempt to address privacy concerns. FLoC, however, was recently shot down in the EU due to GDPR concerns. To get this project green lit, AdLedger had to undergo a rigorous legal review. 

Here’s how the technology was implemented:

  • Italiaonline started by integrating the CryptoRTB service with its ad server, which cryptographically signed outbound bid requests to prove origination, authenticity and provide data integrity. 
  • MadHive integrated the CryptoRTB protocol into its DSP technology, allowing them to validate Italiaonline’s signatures in real time before responding to the bid request. 
  • OMD trafficked the Dixan campaign in the MadHive DSP as they normally would, monitoring performance of the campaign to ensure KPIs were hit.

Here are the results: 

“CryptoRTB helps us ensure that our media dollars are only going towards premium impressions on premium publishers,” said Matteo Giarrizzo, Head of Media Italy, Greece & Cyprus at Henkel. “This protocol is a huge step in building the next generation of digital advertising, which is based on proof instead of word of mouth. It will be crucial that the rest of the market to adopt this technology, in order to speed up the change and to increase transparency in the entire system”.

In addition to verifying identities, the application cryptographically sealed data to ensure compliance with GDPR and CCPA. 

“In Europe, privacy regulations have been top of mind for years, and it has become clear that cryptography will play a key role in the future of the media ecosystem,” said Antonio Montesano, Head of Digital at OMD Italy. “Our involvement in AdLedger allows us to ensure our clients are at the forefront of innovation, by leveraging this technology to take a privacy-by-design approach to all facets digital advertising.” 

AdLedger is continuing to implement the technology to with consortium partners, which has swelled to over 90 of the most powerful companies in the industry, including Omnicom Media Group, Hershey’s, Publicis Media, TEGNA, IPG Mediabrands, Vizio, Meredith, and Hearst Television. It has already been successfully applied to CTV with partner Beachfront.