Simplest Possible Explanation – ANA’s Media Kickback Report
Our Chief, Mark DiMasismo, takes to the DiGo Beach to shed some light on the controversy surrounding the recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report on media kickbacks. To see the full transcript, scroll down below.
“So a lot of folks want to know what’s all this fuss about kickbacks – media kickbacks – that the ANA (the Association of National Advertisers) and the 4A’s (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) are squabbling about in public. In fact, the ANA, which represents the nation’s largest advertisers, is about to release a report that is predicted to say that most holding companies and agencies are taking kickbacks. Now I don’t know that that’s the fact, and I don’t know that that’s in the report, but that’s what’s being said in the press. And the 4A’s, which represents all the large agencies and holding companies, is coming back and saying ‘before you release your report, ANA, make sure that you have the facts’.
So what is this? What do they mean by kickbacks? I wanted to talk to you about this. I care a lot about it because I run an independent agency. And Independent agencies aren’t necessarily represented by either of those groups.
So we’re on the DiMassimo Goldstein beach here. Let’s look at these bowls of sand. Advertiser: let’s say that this is your media budget (holding bowl 1). And here it is again (holding bowl 2). And this is the independent agency bowl (bowl 1); as you can see, it’s transparent and nearly full. And that’s all your sand right there. In this other bowl, the holding company bowl (bowl 2), they’re probably going to tell you there’s more in this bowl than there is in the other bowl (bowl 1). But if you were to get really close, you would see that there is actually less – maybe 15% – 20% less – sand in this bowl (bowl 2). Why is there less sand in this bowl? I’ll tell you why. Because what is predicted to be finally reported by the ANA is that the holding companies are taking a little bit of the sand from each of those bowls and filling up their big, hidden crystal bowl that they keep in the back room, and are now challenging the 4A’s to prove that they have. But let me tell you, as an independent agency competing against the holding companies for years, I have long suspected and heard from many people on the inside that this bowl does, in fact, exist. And that while holding companies will promise clients ridiculously low commissions in order to get business, in fact, clients are paying bigtime in ways that they can’t track or see. Because the big bowls of media money are hidden, and the only things they see are the small bowls on their report.
So in short, since we don’t know all the facts and can’t know all the facts until this report comes out, and the lawsuits ensue, the fighting between the big advertisers and the big media companies works its way through the court, and there are decisions, etc. Since we can’t know, I would offer you this: in the meantime, there are many good independent agencies. DiMassimo Goldstein and our media arm, Proove, are completely transparent. Clients do not have to wait for a court to tell them where their money is, because it’s 100% evident and transparent, because there only is 1 bowl. There’s only 1 business here – only 1 bowl – and all of the sand that’s in it is your money, the client money. It’s all in there, 100% accounted for. So all of your money goes to helping you build your brand and sell in media. I hope that solved it.”