The Association of National Advertisers this morning said K2 Intelligence and Ebiquity/FirmDecisions have been selected to field a “fact-finding” initiative to understand issues surrounding the transparency of their media-buying and trading agencies.
The project is part of an initiative that began during the ANA’s financial accountability forum, which began exposing a variety of issues surrounding margins, rebates, kickbacks and other forms of agency compensation from media suppliers that have either been opaque or undisclosed to clients.
The ANA said the two firms were selected from a roster of 26 applicants, and were selected because of how they will complement each other during the project.
K2 Intelligence, a firm founded in 2009 by Jeremy Kroll and Jules Kroll, specializes in “complex business and industry assessments, business intelligence, and data analytics,” the ANA said.
Ebiquity/FirmDecisions is a marketing performance specialist that has developed an expertise in programmatic media trading, as well as conventional marketing and media services. Its services include “performance optimization, advertising intelligence, research/reputation analysis, and media-value measurement, including media auditing.” In 2012, Ebiquity acquired FirmDecisions, a global specialist in rebate/AVB auditing with a focus on media financial transparency. “AVB” is a short-hand acronym for “agency volume bonus” and is common in markets outside the U.S., and frequently appears as a line item in programmatic media trades.
The ANA said the project will involve a “multi-phased” approach.
The first phase will focus primarily on domestic and global fact-finding via confidential interviews with senior ecosystem executives and other business intelligence processes.
“The essential objective of this project is to elevate trust and confidence throughout the media-buying supply chain,” stated ANA President-CEO Bob Liodice, noting that “the project is expected to accomplish the following":
Demystify the landscape and provide a clarifying perspective on the state of transparency. This is foundational to advancing solutions and the development of longer-term quality business practices.
Provide industry perspective on non-transparent behavior such as rebates, barter, arbitrage, dark pools, inventory management, global transactions, and supply chain media management.
Assess the quality of the media-planning process and understand if media plans are being compromised.
Evaluate marketers’ practices and processes. Marketers should have the same level of scrutiny as the balance of the media supply chain.