ANA Introduces Guidelines For Media Transparency
To elevate trust and restore confidence in the client/agency relationship, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) urges marketers to require media agencies to be fully transparent and disclose all potential conflicts of interest and allow thorough audits of the agency, its parent company, affiliates and subsidiaries.
The ANA’s recommendations, outlined in a report, “Media Transparency: Prescriptions, Principles, and Processes for Marketers,” produced by the association in conjunction with Ebiquity, an independent marketing analytics specialist, and its subsidiary, FirmDecisions, follows the June release of an ANA-commissioned assessment by K2 Intelligence that found non-transparent business practices, including cash rebates to media agencies, were pervasive in a sample of the U.S. media ad-buying ecosystem.
“The purpose of these guidelines is to provide marketers with prescriptions for addressing transparency issues specific to the K2 Intelligence study,” says Bob Liodice, ANA president and CEO. “We outlined actions marketers should consider to diminish or eliminate non-transparent and non-disclosed agency activities and to ensure that their media management processes are optimized.”
The report also highlighted media management deficiencies among marketers and emphasized the need for increased accountability and more disciplined processes. Other recommendations included the establishment of overarching agency management principles that can be easily understood and executed, primacy over the client/agency relationship and regular re-evaluations and upgrades of internal processes and practices, and the creation of a uniform code of conduct between the advertisers and agencies.
“Advertisers are now experiencing a unique environment where demands for financial accountability and ROI are increasingly high, while transparency into media spending is difficult to achieve,” says Michael Karg, Group CEO, Ebiquity. “We're at a turning point in the U.S. advertising industry. With these recommendations, advertisers have the opportunity to pave the way towards greater transparency while laying a strong foundation to manage future complexity.”
For more on the report and to download the full document, click here.