ANA & Friends Release Guidelines for Media Transparency

The circus around media transparency and how open agencies and brands are to each other continues.

The latest includes a number of releases from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) along with marketing analytics company Ebiquity and its subsidiary, FirmDecisions.

The group did a couple of things. First, the parties released an additional report that reaffirmed the findings that the report earlier this summer done by K2 Intelligence suggested. The earlier report was a damning white paper that showed severe separation of ideals on both sides, agency and brand alike. The fact that the two sides are so far apart is puzzling. And because no one seems to have come up with a real solution, the ANA and company decided to step to the plate and see if their solutions could do the job. The second thing they did was create a series of “guidelines” to make sure both parties- again, agencies and brands- are operating on the same page. And they even went so far as to suggest creating a “chief media officer” who- we’d imagine- serve as a watchdog over the media selection and negotiation between brand, media company and agency.

Why stop there? ANA thought to also modify a contract template it received from the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and are urging marketers across the nation to use it.

What’s in it? The same stuff that agencies have been pushing back on for the past decade. The contract restricts a lot of movement agencies and holding companies are used to having. It requires agencies and even holding companies to forfeit work with similar businesses. It allows marketers to not pay agencies up to 12 months, or “whatever is agreed upon in this Agreement.”

Since we’ve been working on this article and reading the 50 pages of fun the contract amounts to, we haven’t yet seen the agency world’s reaction. Chances are, it will be the same as usual.

It is clear that the guidelines and adoption of the contract template received no feedback or input from agency advocates. What a shame. Rebuilding trust and later transparency will require all hands on deck. Not just the brands.

We’ll just have to see what happens next.



Do More Outlets Promote Brand Recall?

As time passes, consumers are given additional ways to gather and analyze information about the world around them. The media landscape continues to change, and it seems that the final version of media ‘as we know it’ has yet to arrive.

AdLand is not the only industry having this conversation and dealing with the difficulty this transformation is bringing. Our industry cousin- the news industry- is facing similar issues.

The overall questions that we both aim to answer is if additional outlets of information actually make consumers more informed. If people are able to get news from newspapers, TV, radio, Twitter, Facebook, FlipBoard, podcasts and online TV, do they become more informed than those in the past? Likewise, if consumers can get product information and advertising some all those same outlets, will they be more apt to brand recall if we assume that we place our ads across the board?

Let’s first address the news dilemma.

There have been multiple studies done across the nation about the rate of news consumption, and how people feel about being informed. The results have been interesting. One study highlighted in the Freakonomics podcast “Why Do We Really Follow the News” suggested that the increased amount of outlets didn’t help create more informed people- it actually helped those news consumers to be able to weed out the outlets they didn’t like in order to focus mainly on the outlets that affirmed their views.

In short, people searched for outlets that supported their views and opinions.

If people search for outlets that support their views, and brands are repeatedly showing their face in those same outlets, shouldn’t the brand recall be positive?

As always, it depends.

As brands determine which outlets to use and how often to use them, we have to really take our consumer’s behaviors into account. If they are extremely active, and see our brand ALL the time, we could trigger brand fatigue and create the opposite effect- they may try to search for different brands.

The outlets should depend on the topics and issues being covered. If they are reading about mudslides in the areas tearing apart homes and communities, advertising your “MudRun 5K” might not be the best idea. But if your client is an insurance provider and offer 24/7 free consultation, that might be worth adding that to the programmatic campaign.

Do multiple outlets promote brand recall? In short, it is highly possible. If done right it can bode well for the brand. If done poorly, it can be a waste of money and could actually damage the brand equity one has already built.