#MediaSnack Ep. 49: Why You Cannot Ignore The ANA
On this episode of #MediaSnack Tom and David look at some new research suggesting that half of US advertisers are not engaging with their media agency over the findings of the ANA’s Media Transparency report, even though it is nearly 5 months since it was published. This seems to reflect the different stages of reaction that ID Comms has experienced from a wide spectrum of advertisers; some took immediate action back, some are still considering the best course of action and some are seemingly unaware or unconcerned by the ANA's report.
The typical response (largely correctly in our view) is that advertisers should have scrutinized their own circumstances by looking at their existing media agency contracts and we helped them quickly establish the level of protection or exposure they face in the areas of “non-transparent practices” detailed by the ANA report. Once we have helped the advertiser establish a point of view of their current situation, then they need to make plans to correct or improve the contract. It is very easy to update contract terms, far harder to actually implement a contract which wholly protects your interests, especially in a complex market like the global media landscape. This is taking time for some advertisers, some are electing to review their contracts as part of a larger tendering process, consider that their scope of work for an agency, their preferred payment model, their media mix, their resource needs may have all changed in the 3 or 4 years since they last pitched. Not to mention the rapid change of the media landscape each year.
As a result, we are anticipating a busy 2017 pitch market as many advertisers, kicked into action following the ANA Transparency Report have spent some months reviewing contracts, conducting audits where they can and now shaping plans for their future media agency needs. It still seems possible that some advertisers might elect to pursue legal routes against their media agencies, there are still faint rumblings of an SEC investigation which won't go away just yet and that’s going to keep the US media industry on its toes for the foreseeable months.
We anticipate very few advertisers would take this ‘nuclear’ option, fearing that it would actually create larger problems than it might resolve and cause a massive distraction from business as usual (which incumbent agency is going to maintain passion for a client who is publicly suing them for claw-back of millions of dollars?). It presents a huge risk for advertisers considering legal routes. Alternatively, we expect the majority of advertisers will want to re-design and re-engineer their relationship with the media agency. This has to be driven by a clear vision and a common ambition. It is the only sensible route to re-build the missing trust in the industry and set a path for a more productive and transparent and accountable media industry for the future.
We are helping brands define this future and we are designing ways for marketers to get back around the table with their agency leadership to design for trust. It won't happen without engineering, it won't happen by accident - the most ambitious brands know they have to make this happen.
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