ANA confronts Brand Masters with rebates

Geoffrey Precourt

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is stepping up its campaign demanding honesty and full disclosure of transparency from agencies and publishers, insisting that "non-transparent business practices" are crippling the marketing ecosystem.

Seven months ago, a "Media Transparency: Prescriptions, Principles and Processes for Advertisers" report advised its 1,000 member companies of "a fundamental disconnect" in the industry regarding the basic nature of the advertiser-agency relationship. More specifically, the third-party independent study pinpointed "substantial evidence" of rebates from media owners to agencies, in the form of both cash and bonus ad placements.

Since then, contended Bill Duggan, the ANA's Executive Vice President, "the 4A's [American Association of Advertising Agencies] and the agency community overall have continued to publicly deny the findings of the 'Media Transparency' report" - and, therefore, also rejected the remedial steps proposed by the ANA in a follow-up document.