Account conflict is hurting the ad industry: Andy Pontin

By By David Blight | 29 August 2012
Clemenger BBDO Sydney chief executive Andy Pontin.

Clemenger BBDO Sydney chief executive Andy Pontin has argued the industry's constraints around client conflict are unnecessary and damaging, revisiting a long-standing dispute in the advertising landscape.

Speaking recently with AdNews, Pontin stressed that other services industries such as law firms, accountants and auditing companies, have access to multiple clients in the same category, but are not constrained by account conflict.

“When other professional services don't have to deal with conflict, it seems like an anomaly that our industry is held back by such strict conflict," Pontin said. "Advertising agencies struggle to get a seat in the board room, but that is not the case for other consultants, law firms, accountants and auditing firms, which have access to far more confidential information but don't have issues with conflict.

“The ad industry has allowed this to happen. It is a default expectation from clients but it is constraining for agencies and harms our ability to get better.”

Pontin also argued that as clients expand and cross multiple categories, the issue becomes stronger still.

“It is becoming more pressing. If a telco is getting into handsets and broadband, or if a supermarket is going into financial services, it means there are less areas that you as an agency can go into. With convergence, there are more areas that can be seen as a conflict.

“At some point, it will become unsustainable.

“You just have to be confident as an agency that you can deliver separation of accounts.”

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