Transparency Voted ANA “Marketing Word of the Year” for 2016 | About the ANA | ANA

Transparency Voted ANA “Marketing Word of the Year” for 2016

December 12, 2016



Selection Follows Media Transparency Study Released in June

NEW YORK (December 12, 2016) — If a single word could represent the U.S. marketing industry in 2016, what would it be? According to the members of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), that word is transparency.

During the week of November 28, the ANA surveyed its members online, asking them to vote on the Marketing Word of the Year from a list of finalists prepared by the ANA staff. A total of 267 members participated, and “transparency” received the most votes.

The selection reflected the June release of a transparency study conducted by the ANA in conjunction with K2 Intelligence, which reported widespread allegations of various non-transparent business activities by ad agencies and media agencies throughout the U.S. media ecosystem.

Other top choices in the 2016 Marketing Word of the Year voting were customer experience, content marketing, influencer, and programmatic. It was the third consecutive year the ANA announced a Marketing Word of the Year. Previous winners were content marketing (2015) and programmatic (2014).

“It’s no surprise that our members chose transparency as the Marketing Word of the Year,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “Our media transparency study was one of our most important initiatives and it sparked fundamental behavioral changes among marketers and in the industry, here and around the world.”

A representative selection of verbatim comments from ANA members who voted for transparency as the ANA 2016 ANA Marketing Word of the Year included:

  • [Transparency] is the single most important issue in marketing and has the greatest potential benefit in terms of improving marketing ROI.
  • Transparency, or lack of transparency, defines all media agency relationships and provides a new perspective to consider these relationships.
  • The K2 findings have served as a milestone encouraging change in how clients and agencies partner on media deals.
  • Fraud and lack of transparency are killing the digital ecosystem for advertisers.
  • Because of the important K2 report and the light it shed on the broken agency/client model, coming to a common ground that works for marketers is crucial to the future of this relationship.
  • Transparency affects everything we communicate in marketing, from our product formulations and labels to how we communicate in all channels to our internal culture.
  • Consumers want to do business with brands they can trust. That goes to the heart of transparency.
  • Trust between agencies and clients has never seemed worse, especially in the world of programmatic and data.

Following the release of the transparency report, the ANA and Ebiquity/FirmDecisions released “Media Transparency: Prescriptions, Principles, and Processes for Advertisers,” which offers guidelines for advertisers and agencies designed to help them address the transparency issues identified in the K2 Intelligence study. In addition, the ANA, in conjunction with its general counsel, Reed Smith LLP, developed a media agency “Master Media Planning & Buying Services Agreement” which can be used by advertisers in developing their own agency agreement.

In August, the ANA formed a Production Transparency Task Force to assess whether there are non-transparent advertising agency practices in production services and to develop recommendations for improvement.



The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.


John Wolfe
Director of Communications
Office: 212.455.8011
Cell: 914.659.8663