Unilever Japan & ADK Partner with EnvisionX to Trial First Functional and Operational Digital Advertising Campaign on the Blockchain


UK based ad tech vendor EnvisionX and leading Japanese advertising agency ADK have today jointly announced their first successful blockchain campaign in conjunction with one of the world’s largest brand owners, Unilever. The PoC was performed using EnvisionX’s innovative EXChain platform. The campaign is seen as a significant milestone in the global advertising space as it has demonstrated the readiness of the EXChain advertising management platform for full commercialisation and validated its ability to run real transparent advertising campaigns using blockchain technology at scale.

The campaign was conducted as a full end-to-end operation including all the relevant digital advertising stakeholders, i.e., brand, agency, DSP, SSP, technology vendor and publisher. The campaign was fully automated and also independently reconciled the participating DSP and SSP platforms’ fees with the agency, which were proven by EXChain to be 100% accurate.

In the recent past, blockchain has been a buzzword in the advertising space. The debate around how it should be implemented in advertising to deliver real value has clouded much decision making and platform positioning. At EnvisionX, we apply blockchain’s self-executing smart contract for automating and reconciling commercial deals and its tamper-free data storage for the auditable single source of truth for ad spend transparency.

“We are fully aware of the industry’s experiments of moving into a more transparent ad buying experience and the EXChain platform comes at exactly the right time, being the first such project we have seen with a ready-to-go and fully functioning platform to support us to make the necessary changes,” said Naohiro Seike, Director of Digital Business Produce Department at ADK. “We understand moving the industry to a more transparent trading model will take time and effort, but EXChain has all the necessary attributes to join us at the start of this journey.”

The ultimate goal of EXChain is to close the gap we see today between advertisers and publishers which causes the so-called hidden “ad tech tax”. ADK and the participating publishers were able to see every single dollar spend and their revenue in real time within EXChain to ensure only the authorised fees were charged by the technology platforms. ADK and the publishers also reconciled their spend and revenue allocations effortlessly in real time directly in EXChain without any manual effort. “It is a groundbreaking technology which will enable us to carry out our day to day work in a completely different and productive way. For the first time we have a centralised place where we can work with the commercial deals and not have to worry about the manual execution and subsequent verification of the result,” said Taku Nakano, Media Planner of ADK. “The new efficiency allows us to reinvest our time and efforts in supporting our brand clients in more important areas where our agency skills really add value. Should our existing or new brand clients want to work closer with more premium publishers, pay their advertising spend on a transparent basis and collectively drive the advertising ecosystem towards a healthier trading relationship, we expect EXChain to play an important role in it.”

The PoC also demonstrated that ADK could customise spend verification criteria to either accept or reject an impression in real time against pre-agreed conditions with other campaign stakeholders, completely removing the need for ADK and other stakeholders to expend time dealing with post-campaign discrepancy disputes and invalid spend on bad impressions. “We believe the new opportunities EXChain brings to advertisers and publishers will open a new era of digital advertising as it enables both buy and sell sides to regain full control of their spend and revenue,” said Ai Nakama, Director of Business Development APAC at EnvisionX. “This lays the cornerstone for the future of advertising with integrity protected and technology advancement enjoyed”.

Unilever commented “EXChain expands upon Unilever’s approach to piloting Blockchain to invest in the next frontier of solutions in driving a more quality digital advertising ecosystem. Unilever’s initial exploration in this space is to identify if Blockchain has the potential to provide us one auditable source of truth of our campaign delivery, that all parties and intermediaries can agree to in this transparent system. Unilever is looking to uncover how to maximize the accuracy of our digital campaign reconciliation while minimizing the manual resource required. We believe that a truly scalable application of Blockchain for media has to be in partnership with key players i.e. our media agencies and intermediaries.”

Zheng Zhang, CEO of EnvisionX, says it has been a very challenging but ultimately a very rewarding year for our company. We decided to build the EXChain platform as a result of the challenges we faced with our legacy marketplace product but also to use our detailed market knowledge to provide an innovative solution to meet the demands of the market’s primary players: the advertisers and publishers. We feel that the combination of technologies EXChain is built upon is the right solution at the right time to support ADK’s transparency initiative. We are pleased to be able to partner with ADK and collectively be the first to push out this fully transparent and reconciled advertising buying model globally.

Both ADK and EnvisionX are excited in progressing to the next stage of testing involving more stakeholders and adopting the EXChain platform. ADK is looking to roll out this new and fully transparent advertising model in the Japanese market in the very near future.

About Unilever

Unilever is a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Its products include food and beverages (about 40 per cent of its revenue), cleaning agents, beauty products, and personal care products. It is Europe’s seventh most valuable company. Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies; its products are available in around 190 countries. Unilever owns over 400 brands, with a turnover in 2017 of 53.7 billion euros, and thirteen brands with sales of over one billion euros.

For more information, please visit: www.unilever.com

About ADK

ASATSU-DK Inc., founded in 1956 with its headquarter in Tokyo Japan, is one of Japan’s largest advertising agencies. In January 2019, ASATSU-DK Inc. completed the corporate restructuring into a holding company structure, ADK Holdings Inc. (ADKHD), and ADK Marketing Solutions Inc., ADK Creative One Inc. and ADK Emotions Inc. are now operating under the umbrella of ADK Holdings Inc..

Connecting premium brands and consumers, ADK Marketing Solutions provides comprehensive marketing solutions to brand clients with a strong focus on conveying brand’s message. The company has world class media planning and buying functions using extensive consumer-related data intelligence to execute mass media plans and purchases more effectively.

For more information, please visit: www.adk.jp

About EnvisionX Group Ltd

EnvisionX innovates the next generation of global advertising for buyers and sellers by interconnecting programmatic platforms through one multi-dimensional ecosystem for ultimate control. Constantly battling to beat ad fraud and prevent poor ad quality in the industry, the company is driven by integrity and is an independent ad tech company you can truly trust.


E: [email protected]

W: www.envisionx.co