Media Transparency: Findings, Recommendations, and Agency Agreement Template

Click the link to the right to download a compendium document that combines the K2 Intelligence Study, the ANA and Ebiquity/FirmDecisions report, and a contract template to use in new contract development and existing contract review.

The K2 Intelligence study, conducted on behalf of the ANA from October 2015 to May 2016, reported that numerous non-transparent business practices were found to be pervasive in a sample of the U.S. media ad-buying ecosystem. The study identified several key findings:

  • K2 Intelligence found a fundamental disconnect in the advertising industry about the basic nature of the advertiser-agency relationship. In general, advertisers expressed a belief that their agencies were duty-bound to act in their best interests. They also believed that this obligation, essentially a fiduciary duty, extends beyond the stated terms in their agency contracts. While some agency executives expressed similar beliefs, others told K2 that their relationship to advertisers was solely defined by the contract between the two parties.
  • Pervasive receipt of non-disclosed rebates, not returned to advertisers, in the forms of cash, free media inventory, and service agreements were found.
  • Potentially problematic agency conduct was concealed by principal transactions, resulting in media agencies sometimes acting on their own account and not always in the best interests of advertisers.
  • Inconsistent and questionable media management practices by advertisers were found. This included poor contract stewardship, lagging business practices, and fundamental organizational management issues.

To address these concerns, the ANA and Ebiquity/FirmDecisions came together to craft the report Media Transparency: Prescriptions, Principles, and Processes for Advertisers. The report includes a framework to help advertisers and agencies address transparency issues identified in the K2 Intelligence study, create a code of conduct to guide the client/agency relationship, and restore trust — the core of an effective and beneficial relationship.

In addition to the recommendations, the ANA, in conjunction with its General Counsel, Reed Smith LLP, has developed a media agency Master Media Buying Services Agreement which can be used by advertisers in developing their own agency agreement. The ANA would like to thank ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) and its legal counsel Fieldfisher, for their consent to use the ISBA Framework Agreement For Media Buying and Planning Services as a guide for some of the provisions in the ANA template.


"Media Transparency: Findings, Recommendations, and Agency Agreement Template." ANA, 2016.