4A's chief blasts ANA invite

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The Association of National Advertisers' invitation for ad agencies to join--though now rescinded--continued to rankle at its 90th annual conference in Amelia Island, Fla. O. Burtch Drake, president-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, fired back at a remark made by his ANA counterpart, John Sarsen Jr., that the invitation was reconsidered because it would have "decimated'' the Four A's as members opted to belong only to the ANA instead. Mr. Drake said outside consultant Michael Allen Co. had interviewed both memberships and concluded that "a majority of ANA board members didn't want to invite [agencies] to join ANA'' and that "a significant majority of the Four A's board was totally opposed to it.'' The solution, Mr. Drake said, is a joint meeting tentatively scheduled for April to discuss compensation issues and the use of search consultants in the new-business process. "Even if [agency members did join ANA] it wouldn't have 'decimated' us,'' Mr. Drake contended. By some measures, such as revenue and resources, "we are much bigger and more powerful than ANA.''

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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