Until recently, broad awareness of media rebates – what they are, how they work – did not exist among advertisers in the US marketplace. The ANA, through its Media Transparency Taskforce and the K2 Intelligence study, recently found substantial evidence of non-transparent business practices in the U.S. market in the form of rebates.
From October 20, 2015, through May 31, 2016, K2 Intelligence, on behalf of the ANA, conducted an independent study of media transparency issues in the U.S. advertising industry. K2 was selected to lead the fact-finding portion of the study after a request for proposal process initiated by the ANA on June 17, 2015.
Over the course of the study, K2 conducted 143 interviews with 150 individual sources, representing a cross-section of the U.S. media buying ecosystem. K2 kept the identities of all participating sources — and all the individuals and corporate entities named in their accounts — confidential from the ANA throughout the study.
Results of the study were delivered by K2 in a comprehensive report. Among the key findings:
As a followup to the initial report, the ANA and Ebiquity/FirmDecisions came together to craft the report Media Transparency: Prescriptions, Principles, and Processes for Advertisers. The report includes a framework to help advertisers and agencies address transparency issues identified in the K2 Intelligence study, create a code of conduct to guide the client/agency relationship, and restore trust — the core of an effective and beneficial relationship.
“We outlined specific 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,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA.
In addition to the recommendations, the ANA, in conjunction with its General Counsel, Reed Smith LLP, has developed a media agency Master Media Buying Services Agreement which can be used by advertisers in developing their own agency agreement. The ANA would like to thank ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) and its legal counsel Fieldfisher, for their consent to use the ISBA Framework Agreement For Media Buying and Planning Services as a guide for some of the provisions in the ANA template.
Specifically, the report recommends that to achieve full transparency advertisers should:
In addition to these three key pillars, seven strategic recommendations for advertisers are advocated to reduce or eliminate the potential conflicts identified in the K2 Intelligence study. They are: