Why is ANA in the same company as Pokémon, Marijuana, Netflix, and Donald Trump?

December 19, 2016

By Bill Duggan

The ANA has been acknowledged by Advertising Age on its 2016 year-end Marketer A-List — a list of 10 brands recognized for highly effective work this year. The reason — our work on transparency. According to Ad Age:

“In a marketing industry awash with trade organizations, one stood out in 2016 by creating a row that questioned the industry's ethical foundations.

The Association of National Advertisers pushed the subject of media transparency like never before. The group got wide-ranging media coverage with a long-awaited report by investigative consulting firm K2 Intelligence that alleged widespread, if entirely unidentified, cash rebates, side deals and other "nontransparent" practices, particularly in digital marketing.

The report followed the uproar resulting from an ANA-commissioned presentation in early 2015 by former Mediacom CEO-turned-consultant Jon Mandel that made similar, if less detailed, allegations. Both broadsides have been roundly criticized by the 4A's and member-agency holding companies, partly for the continued lack of details.

But it's clear the effort has had an impact. The K2 report anonymously notes that some marketers had little idea what kind of audit provisions their media-agency contracts had put in place, and cites one marketer that essentially gave up when its agency resisted extending an audit to the holding-company level. A follow-up by consulting firm Ebiquity recommended tougher contracts with audit clauses, including a contract template."

A reminder on the key outputs on ANA’s transparency work in 2016:

Congrats to the other nine honorees on the Advertising Age 2016 year-end Marketer A-List – Netflix (Marketer of the Year), Donald Trump, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FX, Intel, KFC, Adidas, Marijuana, and Pokémon.

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