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ID Comms exclusive: Tom Denford and ANA CEO Bob Liodice on media transparency

In this week’s #mediasnack Tom chats to Bob Liodice, CEO of the US Association of National Advertisers about the decision to launch its media transparency investigations last year and what has changed as a result.

They start off by summarising the work that shone the light not only on agencies but also on marketers. Bob points that media landscape is evolving so quickly that marketers were constantly trying to catch up.

Some advertisers had let their contracts “atrophy” says Bob and the ANA work has allowed them to take a s
tep back and reassess the way they work with their agencies.

To make these relationships work again advertisers need to take greater control of their media investments and, generally, try to be better clients. However, Bob also pointed out, that the responsibility for this lies within both agencies and advertisers.

There are some advertisers that have private “arrangements” with their agencies to increase transparency but this has not been done publicly. The ANA media transparency report and media transparency recommendations that were published last year, were aimed at establishing a public approach to the issues of media transparency. In the long term, Bob argues, that these changes allow everyone in the industry “do business honestly, with great integrity and with great precision, so everybody is becoming a winner.”

The ANA media transparency report is a starting point, he suggests. Legal entities such as the US Department of Justice (DoJ) are now paying greater attention to the industry.

At the moment US agencies production contracts are under investigation but says Bob this level of attention could drift into media. Bob points that one of the biggest buyers of media in the US is the federal government.

Bob and Tom note that some advertisers are already taking back control of their media. A great example of this is P&G’s hire of Gerry D’Angelo as Chief Media Officer. And the most recent barnstorming speech of Marc Pritchard (who is also president of the ANA) asking advertisers to step up and change the way they work with their agencies.

As Bob points out “the large companies have resources and capabilities to make these kinds of strategic changes within their own companies”. For the smaller ones, there is less ability to make radical changes leading to “a slow roll” as the message reaches through the market.

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