ANA Commissioning Wide-Ranging Study On Media Buying

The Association of National Advertisers is hiring a consultant to do a broad study on how media is purchased by agencies for advertisers. An RFP soliciting submissions will go out in about a week, although ANA President Bob Liodice said the deadline for submissions is still being finalized.

This initiative, which comes amid allegations of widespread media agency rebate schemes in the U.S., is being conducted solely by the ANA and is separate from the joint ANA-4As task force that was announced in April that is looking at agency-advertiser contracts and the development of a code of conduct.  

Liodice said the ANA-commissioned consultant study will “look at the totality of the situation,” including but not limited to the rebate issue.  What it won’t be, he stressed, is a “witch hunt” that points a finger at specific wrongdoing.



Among other things, the study will look at trading desk operations and how programmatic buys are processed, sources of inventory and even barter arrangements. The study will also look at the agency practice of purchasing media for re-sale to clients.

“We need an objective perspective that looks at behaviors,” Liodice said of the third-party study.  In part, the study is designed to identify best practices, as well as practices that are ill-advised and “options for improvement,” he added. The study will be made public and could amplify or supplement the work being done by the joint ANA-4As task force.

The rebate issue is not new, but took on added urgency when former agency executive Jon Mandel made a presentation to the ANA earlier this year that reported widespread rebate schemes in the U.S., often where advertiser clients are unaware that their agencies are receiving rebates, or payments from media vendors in exchange for high volumes of business.

The focus of the study will be about practices in the U.S., but could touch on some international issues. Liodice said it wasn’t clear when the study would be complete -- that will depend in part on input from the selected consultant.

The ANA is not restricting the kind of consultancies that can submit an RFP, so that search consultants, media audit firms and general business consultancies, among others, can submit RFPs. “Whoever feels they are qualified,” Liodice said. 

Next story loading loading..