How NOT To Simplify Your Agency Comp To Reduce Costs

The good news: The Association of National Advertisers practices what it preaches in a new ad campaign promoting a report promising to simplify “agency compensation to reduce costs.”

The bad news: The ANA should have paid for better ad agency stewardship of the programmatic ad buy, which showed up on top of the “National Security” page of inflammatory alt-rght news site

The ad, which was part of a programmatic buy placed by performance agency Path Interactive, was quickly pulled after @Marketeer2u spotted it and tweeted a screenshot of the placement, commenting, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Your ads are running on Breitbart. Fix it.”

The incident, which was first reported in the trade press by late last week, underscores the slippery slope of digital media-buying transparency that the ANA, ironically, has been championing.

The point of today’s RTBlog isn’t to further rub the ANA’s noses in the incident, but to point out that stewardship is -- and always has been -- a key component of agency media-buying services, before, during and after the shift to programmatic digital media-buying. If anything, programmatic makes it more imperative.

In the old days, it was sufficient for agencies to issue blacklists, check broadcast schedules for discrepancies, pull tear sheets and ride the boards, but in the era of programmatic media buying, they need to go a few steps further to develop protocols and procedures to ensure that a brand’s message doesn’t show up in an environment that isn’t just “unsafe” -- but, as this incident illustrates, actually contradicts what the brand has been saying.

4 comments about "How NOT To Simplify Your Agency Comp To Reduce Costs".
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  1. Michael Margolies from Michael Margolies Photography & Design, October 16, 2017 at 11:48 a.m.

    FUnny how these articles always get so excited when an add shows up on an alt-right page but never when it shows up on a alt-left page. I wonder why? Not.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., October 16, 2017 at 12:20 p.m.

    @Michael Margolies: "Excited?" I think you're reading into something. Not a politically partisan issue. It's about an ad showing up in a place the brand didn't want it to. I'm sure Breitbart is appropriate for many brands, but wasn't where the ANA wanted it. 

  3. Jeff Martin from IMF replied, October 16, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

    Really Joe? Not partisan? You decided to use the adjective "inflammatory" to describe the alt-right site. (highlighted by Google) defines inflmmatory as:
    (especially of speech or writing) arousing or intended to arouse angry or violent feelings.

    Did you not mean to infer that the alt-right site is arousing (spreading) anger and violence? If not then perhaps you should edit your article. 

  4. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., October 16, 2017 at 2:32 p.m.

    @Jeff Martin: Again, this column is not commenting on the alt-right movement, per se, just on an incident involving an ad inadvertently being placed on, which the ANA deemed an unsafe brand environment, and pulled the ad.

    In terms of characterizing Breitbart as inflammatory, I don't necessarily agree with Google's definition of the word, but I stand by it based on Breitbart's content and publishing model.

    Accuracy and ideology

    Breitbart News has published a number of conspiracy theories. In 2016, Breitbart published several stories seen as containing falsehoods to support their bias towards Donald Trump. Lori Robertson described their content as "the kind of claim that we'd debunk in an article on viral conspiracy theories."

    It has also reported misleading stories.

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