ANA backs off its plan to invite agencies to join

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The Association of National Advertisers, as expected, told members at its 90th annual conference in Amelia Island, Fla., that it was backing down from its controversial plan to invite ad agencies to join the trade group. ANA President-CEO John Sarsen Jr. said: "We assumed that the agencies would join and it would not disrupt the [American Association of Advertising Agencies]. But the agencies saw it as an either-or situation, and we didn't want to decimate the Four A's.'' Instead, Mr. Sarsen said, the advertiser trade group and the agency association will meet in the first quarter of next year to discuss areas of mutual interest, particularly agency compensation and the use of consultants. The groups have engaged an outside consultant to facilitate the talks. Also at the ANA, one recurring topic has been the effect of e-commerce on bricks-and-mortar retailers. Herbert Baum, president-chief operating officer of Hasbro, Pawtucket, R.I., said traditional retailers are "angry we are going to e-commerce.'' He then predicted this holiday season will be the biggest ever for online retailing. For the holiday, season, Mr. Baum said, Hasbro hopes to have ready two new toys, a "Star Wars''-theme Yoda Furby and an action toy now sold in Europe called Action Man.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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