ID Comms talks to Bill Duggan, Group Executive Vice President at the ANA, about the 2016 Media Transparency report and its lasting impact.
The transparency report was not something that came out of the blue but built on five years’ work, says Bill.
“It’s almost hard to believe that it's been five years, but we were working on this issue five years before that. So, it's really been 10 years,” he says. “I feel the biggest accomplishment is that we did something huge. We had the courage to push forward on it even while there were voices suggesting that we didn't.”
Duggan, who has been at the ANA since 2000, having previously worked at Grey, says even despite the publicity around the report and the work that the ANA did to publicize the findings, it took for its implications to reach the whole industry.
“For the first year after the transparency report was released, we featured the results in multiple forums, committees, conferences and blogs. I had one member say to me, when are you guys going to stop on this transparency? You know, enough, we get it on the other hand. And I remember this was a speaker I had invited to the 2017 media conference to be a speaker. So a year after the report was released, this person was head of media for the organization. And I asked them, is it okay to ask questions about the ANA transparency report in the Q&A? And they said to me, what's the ANA transparency report,” he recalls.
The big lesson for Bill was that it was no longer possible for advertisers to take a back seat when it came to media.
“We had suggested that big clients name a chief media officer, it could be that title, or it could be SVP media or head of media. But what it really meant is to put somebody in charge of the organization, specifically entirely on media,” he says. “A subject matter expert is necessary. We haven't seen the number of chief media officer titles rise dramatically but we've seen more advertisers leaning in and looking at their media contracts every couple of years, because the media environment changes so dramatically.”
The bottom line, he says, is that media money is the advertiser’s money, and it needs to be treated with respect. “Media needs to be managed proactively. It's the client's money and clients, even mid-sized clients, and even some smaller ones would greatly benefit by having an internal person as head of media, working with the agency. Because it's your money, Mr Client, so you should manage it.”