ANA, in historic shift, opens membership to agencies

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The Association of National Advertisers, for the first time in its 89-year history, voted to invite advertising agencies to join as "full partners." Newly elected ANA Chairman John Costello, senior exec VP-general manager of marketing at Sears, Roebuck & Co., said, "Advertising agencies represent brand marketers' most important partners in building brand equity."

The decision was announced at ANA's annual meeting in Naples, Fla. American Association of Advertising Agencies President-CEO O. Burtch Drake, present at the ANA meeting, said he and Four A's Chairman Patrick McGrath had not been informed of the ANA policy change until moments before it was announced. In presenting the ANA's decision, however, ANA officials cited an endorsement of the move by Ogilivy & Mather Chairman-CEO Shelly Lazarus, the Four A's vice chairman. ANA qouted Ms. Lazarus, in line to eventually succeed Mr. McGrath as Four A's chairman, as saying, "the ANA's decision to invite advertising agencies to join the association begins an important dialogue."

Mr. Drake said he was "not at all opposed to synergies among the trade associations," but added there was some concern Four A's members would feel pressure to join ANA.

ANA Chairman Costello said the Four A's was not formally consulted earlier to allow ANA members to vote on the measure first. ANA President-CEO John J. Sarsen Jr. said ANA will invite new members from among "major agencies," although he said that doesn't necessarily mean large agencies. Mr. Sarsen said ad agency members of ANA would pay dues calculated on a sliding scale likely to be based on billings.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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