Who: American Association of Advertising Agencies (the 4A’s); Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
When: January 2016
Law stated as at: 16 March 2016
The American Association of Advertising Agencies (“AAAA” or the “4A’s”) unilaterally issued a set of guidelines on issues around media rebates and transparency in U.S. media buying generally.
This followed efforts by the AAAA and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to work together since March 2015 in a “Media Transparency Task Force” and agree joint guidance. That initiative reportedly reached an impasse in December, with a number of key differences between the two sides unresolved. Those apparently included questions around definitions and over the extent to which the guidelines should mandate particular contract terms in client/agency agreements – including around audit rights – rather than simply offering recommendations
The ANA had previously appointed K2 Intelligence and Ebiquity/Firm Decisions to consult with stakeholders from agencies, publishers and advertisers. The ANA has announced that it expects them to issue the findings of their industry assessment “by late spring 2016”, accompanied by specific recommendations for the ANA.
Immediately after the 4A’s paper was released, the ANA moved to denounce it, describing it as “premature” and failing to “fully or adequately reflect the best interests of marketers”.
Why this matters:
When the ANA goes live with its findings, it is likely this will spark renewed publicity around – and advertiser interest in – media agency arrangements with media owners, not just in the U.S. but internationally too.
The 4A’s “Transparency Guiding Principles of Conduct” can be found here.