After WPP’s poor financial showing in its latest results, much has been made of the imminent demise of Sir Martin’s agency conglomerate, and the ad agency holding company model in general. Let’s be clear: there are a lot of pressures on that model.

I have just reached the 100-day mark in my role leading the 4A’s, and one thing has been made exceedingly clear to me over the past few months: Before we can make true progress, we must address a critical issue. That issue is trust.  By Marla Kaplowitz - 4A’s President and CEO

Bill Duggan penned a piece in MediaVillage.com last week continuing the ANA's attack on ad agencies -- this time over production transparency, which is the code name for unethical and possibly illegal bid-rigging activities conducted by some agencies to secure production contracts at favorable rates.  A previous transparency issue, media transparency, was investigated by ANA in 2016, and it confirmed instances of media agencies enriching themselves at client expense through rebates, kickbacks and other "non-transparent" practices, many of them not forbidden by existing contracts.  Duggan summarized ANA's view about these two transparency issues: "The advertising industry continues to suffer from a transparency crisis, which has broken down trust between advertisers and agencies ... the ad agency community now needs to acknowledge and address these issues rather than continuing to issue denials …"  By Michael Farmer

A year ago, the advertising industry was stirred by the ANA-commissioned report "An Independent Study of Media Transparency in the U.S. Advertising Industry" from K2 Intelligence.  The key finding of that report was that non-transparent business practices, including cash rebates to media agencies, are pervasive in the U.S. media ad buying ecosystem.  By Bill Duggan

New research by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has found that global brands have made major changes or are planning to make extensive changes to their media governance practices across a wide range of areas.

Bob Liodice, the President and CEO of the ANA, once said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that client CMOs are not sufficiently in charge of the activities of their agencies.  He wasn't chastising them but merely sending a word of caution that if clients expect more from their agencies, particularly in areas of transparency, they have to be more intimately involved in what they do and how they do it.  By Mike Drexler

Multidisciplinary brand culture and communications firm (add)ventures announced that it has been selected as the agency of record for AOC Latin America.

The agency holding companies continue to find themselves the pariahs of the industry, implicated in dubious media-buying practices, non-transparent digital media processes — and now by murky advertising production practices as well.

ANA, ever-faithful and aggressive on behalf of its advertiser members, struck a second blow to 4As this week -- a right uppercut to the chin -- with a new ANA study of advertising production practices.  The report detailed "a range of improper behavior, including allegations that some agencies have steered production contracts to their in-house production and post-production outfits by urging other companies to inflate their prices during the bidding process," as reported in WSJ.  ANA's first blow -- a left to the head -- was its 2016 media transparency report, which outlined improper media owner rebates and kickbacks to media agencies.  The combination 1-2 punch is sure to further undermine trust and lead to contract reviews and reductions in agency remuneration. 4As is taking it on the chin.  What can they do?  The fight is a mismatch.  ANA has the weight advantage -- or does it?  By Michael Farmer - Madison Avenue Manslaughter Archives

In an era of hyper-segmentation and personalization, can mainstream marketing still provide total relevance? The concept of mainstream is obsolete. It comes from a simpler time, when the U.S. population was less diverse. The overwhelming majority was non-Hispanic, White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant, and, relatively speaking, the population was much more economically secure.

BOTTOM LINE: Marketer trade group the ANA has released a detailed report on fee transparency issues in the commercial production ecosystem, which is the focus of a Department of Justice probe. While the report does not detail any specific agency or holding company’s wrong-doing, the description of practices and recommendations to marketers may add to the scrutiny marketers are increasingly applying to their agency and holding company contracts.  By Brian Wieser / Pivotal Research Group

Non-transparent production practices exist at multiple ad agencies and agency holding companies, according to a new study by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers).

Ad Blocking remains a hot industry issue based on its continued rise on desktop and mobile and it’s costing the online advertising industry billions of dollars annually. Kantar Millward Brown’s Duncan Southgate, in partnership with GroupM, explored who blocks ads and why, and recommends what advertisers, agencies and publishers can do to reduce ad blocking.

Influencer Marketing has become a central focus of marketing strategies and budgets for 2017. According to Bloomberg, an estimated $255 million is now spent on influencer marketing every month. With a buy in like that, what’s the ROI? EMarketer reported that advertisers earned an average of $6.85 for every $1 they spent on influencer marketing.

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