Transparency in advertising: another initiative from the ANA

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When the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) speaks, people take notice. In common with other local associations such as ISBA in the UK and the influential global team at the WFA, the ANA tirelessly helps its members manage today’s complex advertising market.

This week sees the ANA’s publication of ‘Production Transparency in the US Advertising Industry’, a much-anticipated review of some of the market practices that have emerged in the US market in the world of advertising production and post-production.

Last year’s ANA study into the US media market revealed the inner workings of that market and some of the arcane practices that may prevent advertisers from making well-informed media investment decisions. The recommendations produced for the ANA by Ebiquity and FirmDecisions are now established as best practice in media. The new report into production provides essential advice for advertisers as to how they also achieve transparency in the relatively opaque world of production.

It reveals that there are a number of areas where advertisers may be in the dark.

For example, they may be unaware that their creative agency is using in-house production resources, and the agency is often charged with seeking competitive quotes to compare with its own rates. This can lead to potential conflicts of interest and anti-competitive behaviour.

The new report mirrors the 2016 media initiative by providing a set of clear guidelines for advertisers to follow. They should:

  • always be fully-informed of their agency’s in-house production, editorial and music production resources
  • know when the agency’s in-house resources are being compared to external alternatives
  • understand the potential conflicts of interest in the agency’s control over any bidding processes
  • know when their agency is acting as principal in its role with external parties, as distinct from its traditional ‘agent’ role
  • adopt internal processes to manage the production sourcing process whether using agency in-house resources or external
  • understand where there are incentives offered by individual states in the US to encourage production in that state

As with media, the devil is in the detail. Marketers need to ‘dig in’ and understand their choices, scrutinise the detail and draw up contracts with their preferred partners that provide and encourage transparency and trust. As with media, specialised expertise can be sourced externally to ensure best-practice levels of both production quality and cost management and contract compliance verification.

The advertising industry is changing. The levels of professional transparency being introduced are bringing the standards seen in other industries, often associated with regulation. The advertising industry is well-served in achieving these standards without the intervention of outside parties.

The ANA continues to set the bar high in helping its members understand and manage the complexity of today’s advertising market.

To download your copy of ‘Production Transparency in the U.S. Advertising Industry’ please fill in the form below:

About Author

Chief Strategy Officer

Nick has spent 30 years in the media industry, principally having co-founded Manning Gottlieb Media (MGM) in 1990. MGM became one of the most highly respected and fastest-growing Media Specialist agencies before becoming part of Omnicom in 1997. His most recent position was CEO of OMD’s operations in the UK. Nick also co-founded OPera, the media negotiation arm for OMD and PHD, with billings of £1 billion. He joined Ebiquity in October 2007 as Chief Operating Officer with special responsibility for the Analytics division before becoming President, International, in overall charge of Ebiquity’s non-UK based operations. Nick is now Chief Strategy Officer, with responsibility for developing and implementing Ebiquity’s strategy across its three business segments.

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