2016 Word of the Year: Transparency

Transparency is the 2016 Marketing Word of the Year, according to the third annual survey of ANA members. ANA staff identified a list of finalists and then asked members to cast their votes to determine the winner. Transparency became a buzzword in 2016 when ANA research uncovered a fundamental disconnect in the media-buying industry about transparency in the advertiser/agency relationship.

Transparency affects everything we communicate in marketing, from our product formulations/labels to how we communicate in all channels to our internal culture.   - ANA Member

AdAge recognized the significance of ANA's efforts on transparency in its 2016 Marketer A-List, “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.” More recently, the ANA has formed a Production Transparency Task Force to assess whether there are non-transparent advertising agency practices in production and to develop recommendations for improvement.


What should you do to learn more?
Download the media transparency findings, recommendations, and agency agreement template. This comprehensive document combines the K2 Intelligence Study, the ANA and Ebiquity/FirmDecisions report and the contract template to use in new contract development and existing contract review.


Why should you care about agency rebates and media transparency? Without transparency, there’s the potential for media mix decisions to be made against the best interest of you – the brand. If you're not sure on how media transparency affects you, here are some additional materials that can help:

Ask the Expert Answers: CMO’s Guide to Transparency
Slideshare: A Strategy to Combat Media Non-Transparency
Insight Brief: Advertising Financial Management
ANA CEO, Bob Liodice Blog: Media Transparency: Looking Ahead
ANA 2016 Marketing Word of the Year

 If you have any questions about the ANA Word of the Year, contact bduggan@ana.net.