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Transparency to become a global conversation warns head of US ad association

Liodice: there is likely to be a global conversation around transparency.

Liodice: There is likely to be a global conversation around transparency.

The debate around ‘valuebanks’, media rebates and media credits is set to spark a global conversation on transparency the head of the US advertising association has warned.

Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, made the declaration just weeks out from the release of what is tipped to be an revealing report by intelligence firm K2 into the controversial topic of rebates given to media agencies by media owners.

“The study was conducted solely based on US marketers but for all practical purposes there will be lessons learnt for all marketers, agencies and media companies around the world,” Liodice told Mumbrella.

The head of the association, which represents some of the biggest brands in the world, also noted that while the report was focused on practices in the US there would likely be ramifications for all advertising markets.

Asked about his report, and also a new UK advertiser association push to set a 55 page standard contract to help marketers improve agency transparency, Liodice said: “I definitely think it’s the case (that there is a global conversation)”.

“I know from my participation with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) this is a important conversation and they are very interested in the findings of our report and I do think this will spur a (wider) conversation.”

Liodice said despite the subtleties in various markets a wider global conversation was important.

“Each country has their own nuances and principles but I think how we do business and where there may be shortfalls both on the agency and marketer side will become very apparent and will provide important lessons in how we proceed further,” said Liodice.

His comments come just a week after the ANA’s financial management conference where the topic of transparency in marketer and agency relations was hotly debated.

“Transparency is the undercurrent,” said Liodice. “I think that transparency has been accelerating over the last few years as a result of more marketers doing their marketing through technology-based platforms.”

He said the ongoing growth of digital and programmatic would continue to drive the discussions.

“Those platforms have become increasingly complex and those marketers are far less skilled and trained in how to maximise their knowledge and understanding of what makes sense to them and how to build their brands/manage their resources.

“Over time there has been an increasing disconnect through the digital supply chain, with the utilisation of programmatic and agency trading desks to execute increasing levels of this (automated delivery) in terms of the media spend and probably less sophistication in terms of being able to deal with this new reality.

“When you add all that up you get an area that has become far less understandable to the marketer.”

His comments come just after the APAC boss of media agency PHD said that the days of the undisclosed programmatic model were coming to an end, and clients would rather take the agency trade desk function inhouse than go through a non-transparent agency model.

Nic Christensen

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