This first appeared in the AdNews print magazine. You can read it all below but if you want it as soon as it goes to press, you better subscribe here.
Is it a case of eat, sleep, ignore, repeat when it comes to the media agency saga around transparency, or has the other side of the coin flipped to a more worrying afterthought?
There are multifarious personalities and engaging minds across our thriving advertising and marketing industry that will talk to all manner of innovations, industry themes, hot trends and of course, their businesses – but a mere uttering of the word “rebate” followed by “on the record” and the characteristics of a clam under attack quickly spring to mind.
Yes we know it's complex, sensitive, potentiality damaging and, much like a caught–out scam at Cannes, not something you want to be associated with.
However, many – from industry bodies to media owners and media agency honchos – have remained anonymous when it comes to an on the record comment for this edition's Big Picture feature, which delves into the ANA report's potential repercussions for Australia.
Of course, we're appreciative for the insights that have been shared, however we've had to arrive at them and do understand that many of the bigger agencies have essentially been muzzled by global HQs.
But, surely a report that calls out transparency of media buying requires a strong and transparent response? How can you promote a perception that the market is transparent with silence?
While disheartened and somewhat discombobulated in the quest for nailing more names, it got me thinking that such a cohesive stonewalling approach may be a freemason-esque strategy that may just rid the industry of the current swirling negative vibes and fade out those rebate stains.
Look at David Beckham's affair with his nanny Rebecca Loos (stay with me). Is he still known as ‘Golden Balls’. Yes. Why? Look at the family's strategy. It was ‘mum's the word’. Throughout the whole scandal he said nothing. It blew over and men and women carried on hailing him as a British icon.
If our industry watchdogs aren't howling and the media guard dogs aren't barking, and there’s a severe lack of voices for change and transparency, those few people signalling for a new lay of the land may be nothing but a passing blip.
Have the recent weeks of mediascape woes been nothing but an unwarranted bludgeoning of the sector we all know and love? Nothing but a storm in a teacup? If so, everything remains the same, nothing to see here, business as usual.
However, from the feedback, observations and evaluations we have heard, some media agency and client business dealings, from value banks and rebates to digital trading markups and more – transparent or not – are unsustainable.
It's the sustainability of the media buying ecosystem that is the bigger issue here and that's where the debate should move to.
This isn't about persecuting the industry, it's about recognising it's time for a change or perhaps it’s just time to keep schtum and move on.
Are you across what's been going on?