Nadia Shchipitsyna
By Nadia Shchipitsyna
Jun 17, 2021 4:03:37 PM

Industry Leaders Reflect On Progress At The Fifth Year Anniversary Of ANA’s Watershed Media Transparency Report

ID Comms investigates the lasting impact of 2016’s media transparency initiative

Senior advertisers, agency leaders and executives from the ANA have come together to discuss the on-going impact of the ground-breaking 2016 investigation into media transparency in the US media market.

They relive the anxious moments when the report was initially released but also reflect on the ways the report findings and recommendations continue to positively impact the way advertisers work with their media partners.

The report is widely credited with encouraging many advertisers to re-evaluate their media governance and begin to have the very necessary conversations about the way media agencies were making money. In the years that have followed, this initiative has also encouraged many brands to see media as a force for growth and a way to gain competitive advantage. 

Featuring ID Comms Assurance Global CEO PJ Leary, Marla Skiko, US and Global Head of Media at the Ford Motor Company, Amy Armstrong, Global CEO at Initiative, Lou Paskalis, Former SVP for Customer Engagement and Media Investment at Bank of America and Keri Bruce, Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Media and Technology Law Partner at Reed Smith as well as the ANA’s CEO Bob Liodice, this year’s conversation highlights how the ANA Media Transparency Report has forced advertisers to rethink the way they handle media.

This was a landmark report that triggered a sea-change in attitudes to media and persuaded both sides to find new ways to work much more productively with each other. The ANA deserves huge credit not just for commissioning the original report but also for keeping important media transparency issues front and center for its members over the last five years. And they continue to tackle these vexing issues head on in the interest of a more efficient and effective media ecosystem,” said PJ Leary.

Commenting on the moment of release, Global CEO of Initiative Amy Armstrong recalls it was a catalyst for action: “When the ANA K2 report came out, the first thing was everyone wanted to get their hands on it, read it, digest it...” she said. “It was a very big, gigantic step forward.”

Lou Paskalis, Former SVP for Customer Engagement and Media Investment at Bank of America, said it made something that was implicit very clear to advertisers. “It really plumbed the line of the fiduciary responsibility of the agency, with regard to how it invested the client's money, and that went from an implicit understanding to very explicit understanding,” he said. 

Keri Bruce, Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Media and Technology Law Partner at Reed Smith, says that forced advertisers to focus much more closely on the deals they signed. “It did cause advertisers to look more closely at their contracts and to sort of ask a lot of questions that they hadn't asked before, about the way the agency's business had changed. Because I think a number of advertisers hadn't looked at their contract for five or 10 years,” she said.

Marla Skiko, US and Global Head of Media at the Ford Motor Company, agreed and said that the impact is ongoing. “It prompted a lot of questions that probably needed to be asked all along, but because it became so much more prevalent to have more transparency and accountability, I think that still exists today, but it prompted conversations that began then and are, and are ongoing and are necessary,” she said. “I think that the transparency report kicked off the need for these conversations and this accountability to absolutely be in the contract that you have between marketer and agency, but really it's more expansive than that.

ANA CEO Bob Liodice says the goal behind the report and its impact today remain the same, to improve the impact of the results that marketers achieve. “Our goal is to optimize marketers' investment spending because when brands succeed, everyone succeeds, money flows throughout the supply chain. But if we were sub-optimizing brand's ability to succeed, then we are sub-optimizing the beneficiaries of where all of that investment should be going.” he said.

The bottom line, says PJ Leary, is that the Media Transparency report led to a clearer understanding of incentives and a more engaged, knowledgeable cast of market participants for the media sector overall. “The media transparency report initiated some really important conversations. It encouraged media professionals to take a fresh look at the ways of working and really provided a roadmap for us as an industry to work more productively together,” he concludes.

Watch the full video here: