On the one-year anniversary of the Association of National Advertisers' landmark study and subsequent recommendations on media transparency, it's time to review the issues in this ongoing debate and see where we stand today.  The issues raised in the transparency debate are complex and dominated the advertising industry's discourse in 2016.

Lehman Brothers, Tyco, Enron, Worldcom, step aside!  Media agencies and their owners belong in the same lineup as Bernie Madoff, Dick Fuld, Dennis Kozlowski, Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebbers!  By Michael Farmer

Programmatic is certainly not going away, but I do think marketers are starting to smell it for what it really is.  It’s a cost-saving strategy, which attempts to create the same ROI for a fraction of the cost when compared to more “traditional” forms of advertising.  

The issues raised in the subsequent transparency debate are complex, and if the allegations against the agencies are true, the behavior is reminiscent of past high-profile financial scandals.  By Bob Liodice and Doug Wood

Republica announced the appointment of Bianca Ruiz as vice president, group account director and Tania Echevarria as senior manager, creative operations.

In a recent interview with Advertiser Perceptions, an organization that provides data-driven intelligence to marketers, I was asked, "Will the full-service agency model survive?"  As part of their survey, I was shown the results of how advertisers had thus far answered the question.  It was pretty close between those that said yes (42%) and those that said no (32%).  Twenty-six percent were not sure.

Last week saw an interesting piece by Mindshare's Global CEO Nick Emery published in Campaign and widely circulated on social media.  It generated much praise from beyond GroupM and WPP.  Andrew Stephens from the independent agency Goodstuff along with your humble correspondent were amongst many tweeting their appreciation of an insightful look at the many challenges facing media agencies and the need for new operating models.  Here are two key thoughts behind Nick's piece.

Well, not entirely free. Let me explain. Recently, I had lunch with a procurement manager from a technology company that we’re pitching, and she gave me some insights from the other side on what it feels like to work with an agency.  

We don't see many Big Ideas any more.  Content may be king, but content is forgettable, millions of tiny ideas in a million different places.  Can anything new be said about a product?  Or an industry, like the advertising industry?  Well, I'm not a creative -- more like a dreaded management consultant.  Nevertheless, here's a cross-industry Big Idea, free for the asking: Ad agencies are just like cruise ships!  Don't dismiss this out of hand. Read on!

Marketing leaders and agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep pace with growing demands to localize and adapt their creative strategies. Facing a widening range of digital and physical channels that each require rapid adaptation in order to remain relevant to individual geographic, cultural and customer audiences, too many organizations are failing to take the necessary steps to improve their capacity and agility, according to a new study by the CMO Council.

The agreement will further extend Ogilvy’s US Hispanic service offering and strengthen MARCA’s current capabilities in digital, social media, and analytics.

Days after one influential financial institution issued a “double downgrade” of WPP, another has downgraded the valuations of the entire publicly traded ad sector it covers, including Interpublic, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP.

Ahead of 2Q17 earnings we revise our outlook and valuations on each of the four agency holding companies we cover, Interpublic, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP.

Ad agencies and advertisers are victims of the belief that "creativity" is the basis of their current relationships, and that "more creativity" will give them more of what they need.  Ad agencies have promoted "creativity" since the days of Bill Bernbach, more than 50 years ago, when agencies were at the top of their game.  Advertisers, as their clients, continue to hire agencies for their perceived creativity, provided costs are rock bottom.  However, "creativity" is no longer delivering improved brand performance or increasing shareholder value.  The search for more creativity is making victims of agencies and CMOs alike -- neither lasts very long in a relationship.  It's time for a new paradigm.  The "Creative Paradigm" is out of date.  It's not working.  By Michael Farmer

Everyone I know in advertising and marketing is interested in ideas. Not just good ideas. Extraordinary ideas. The kind that elevate our work and make an unmistakable impact on people, industries, and the world.    By Matt Magee, VP of strategy at PJA Advertising + Marketing

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