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.