4A’s Statement on Media Transparency and the Recent K2 Report

The ANA today released a K2 report on media buying practices. Although the 4A’s has worked collaboratively with the ANA via a joint task force, this report is anonymous, one-sided and paints the entire industry with the same negative brush. This statement further elaborates the 4A’s position on this issue.

A healthy and constructive debate about media buying can only happen with a bipartisan, engaged, industry-wide approach — and that is precisely the opposite of what the ANA has pursued. The immense shortcomings of the K2 report released today — anonymous, inconclusive, and one-sided — undercut the integrity of its findings.

We call upon the ANA in the strongest terms to make available to specific agencies on a confidential basis all of the materials related to them. Without an opportunity for agencies to assess and address the veracity of information provided to K2, sweeping allegations will continue to drive attention-grabbing headlines; this does nothing to foster a productive conversation or to move our industry forward.

Faced with a report that views media buying from the perspective of only one of the three parties to such transactions, agencies are hard-pressed to defend themselves, which could cause substantial economic damage to all media agencies.

The advertising ecosystem is increasingly complex, and we are firmly committed to ensuring appropriate governance practices are in place. In an effort to address today’s challenges and modernize industry practices, the 4A’s worked productively for six months with ANA last year. Our joint task force developed principles of conduct to establish clear standards for transparency in media buying. When the involvement of third parties in tackling this challenge was suggested by ANA, the 4A’s was supportive, even offering to be a partner in the RFP process. The entire industry is harmed and at risk of further damage as a result of the path the ANA has chosen.

With or without ANA’s collaboration, the 4A’s is committed to taking a leadership role in achieving fairness and transparency in the marketplace for all parties to media buys. Despite the fact that our paths have diverged, the 4A’s is determined to build upon the significant groundwork laid by the joint task force, including a number of agreed-upon principles, which we released in January of this year and which can be found here.

Media Contact:
Laura Murray