ID Comms talks to Keri Bruce, Partner at Reed Smith, about the ANA’s Media Transparency report and its implications for contracts and behaviour.
The Transparency report opened people’s eyes to the reality of what their contract actually allowed and the importance of updating it, says Keri.
“The advertisers viewed the agency as an agent, always looking after their own best interest. The agencies said, well, we comply with the contract. And I think a lot of advertisers didn't realize at the time that maybe they had unknowingly agreed to allow the agency to act non-transparent.”
Bruce, who has worked at Reed Smith since 2007, having previously worked in advertising agencies for more than seven years, says the report made advertisers take a much closer look at what they had signed up to.
“It did cause advertisers to look more closely at their contracts and ask a lot of questions that they hadn't asked before about the way the agency's business had changed. Because I think a number of advertisers hadn't looked at their contract for five or 10 years. I advise my clients to just go into it, go into these negotiations with open eyes, always have good procedures in place and governance in place,” she says.
But the issues of concern weren’t simply about rebates. The K2 report also talked about other aspects of transparency that were also important, she points out. “There was a big focus on rebates but there were other non-transparent practices in there, for example disclosures about whether there was a conflict of interest between the agency and the affiliate,” she says.
The need for transparency in general within the ecosystem is still relevant and she says the key question remains: “Is what's happening in the ecosystem consistent with advertisers’ expectations?”