As only Business Insider can, the upcoming American National Advertisers report on the advertising agency rebate situation has been reported to be an "explosive" "bombshell" that could lead to "jail time" for some unlucky souls in the ad agency business. Of course, after that bombastic lead, the admittedly well-written, in-depth, well-reported piece dives deep into the murky world of agency rebates.
The ANA report, set for release next month, is a follow up to a similar report the ANA fielded back in 2012. That report didn't seem to rock the boat too much, but if Business Insider's take is any indication, all hell is going to break loose next month. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend while you can, people.
Following a well-presented explanation of the problem and a recap of the drama to date, the article details three possible outcomes -- from worst to best -- following the report's release. First, there could be a "jail time" scenario, bringing things back to reality and away from BuzzFeed-style headlines, the article states: "Most people we spoke to about the report do not think agencies will end up in court." Of course there is a marketing consultant WHO ASKED NOT TO BE NAMED, who said there could be a federal investigation. So, yeah, it could go either way.
The second scenario posits an outcome that will have clients and investors punishing agencies by coming down on them real hard during contract negotiations. Hey, McDonald's has basically already decided that agencies should work for free, so why wouldn't other brands demand the same; especially if they, in fact, have been misbehaving?
The third scenario, which is said to lead to positive conversations between involved parties, will likely end up akin to a parent telling their child: "I won't be mad if you get drunk as long as you don't drive." Actually, no. It will be like a come-to-Jesus, self-esteem club where the politically correct will gather to share their feelings and mutually admire each party's plight in the situation. Yeah, like that.
Much to the chagrin of Business Insider, Graham Brown, who is a director at media advisory firm MediaSense, said he hopes the report doesn't result in a "tabloid press issue." Heh, not if Business Insider can help it!
Perhaps bringing some levity to the situation, Brown was quoted as saying, "It doesn't matter how severe the report is; it's all about the level-headedness of how people read it and respond to it because, at the end of the day, these are high-quality service providers that clients need."
Yes, the train needs to keep moving. No matter how many fools try to derail it.