Ebiquity and K2 Capitalize on ANA Investigation With New Media Transparency Services

Firms Had Been Hired to Investigate Media Agency Practices

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Firms hired by marketers' chief trade group to probe media agency practices are expanding on their work.
Firms hired by marketers' chief trade group to probe media agency practices are expanding on their work. Credit: iStock

Ebiquity and K2 Intelligence, the firms hired by the Association of National Advertisers to investigate media agency transparency, have begun offering services for any marketers that are now concerned about their agencies' media buying processes.

Ebiquity has partnered with international law firm Reed Smith to create a media agency contract management service, it said Monday in a company blog post. K2 has formed a practice group to help marketers detect, prevent and remediate damange from non-transparent buying behavior.

The ANA in October hired Ebiquity and K2 to investigate whether agencies were taking incentives from media partners and other vendors in the U.S. without telling their clients, and to develop a set of transparency principals for the industry.

The report indicated that there was a widespread problem and outlined a number of ways in which agencies collect rebates, but didn't name any specific agencies in violation of their contracts. The ANA, working with Reed Smith, released a media agency contract template alongside the media transparency guidelines.

Ebiquity and Reed Smith said they will provide advertisers services including including legal advice, contract drafting, contract compliance oversight and monitoring of pricing promises.

"The alliance is in response to the growing need for advertisers worldwide to ensure their media agency contracts deliver the best possible return-on-investment," the blog post said.

K2's new practice focuses on "detecting, preventing and remediating the damage" caused by "schemes" and conflicts of interest that it describes in the ANA report, a spokeswoman said in an email.

Those alleged "schemes" include soliciting and accepting rebates from media suppliers without passing them back to marketer clients or even disclosing them, using "principal transactions to conceal egregious conflicts of interest" and "holding equity interests in their own media suppliers."

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