March 20, 2019

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) announced the formation of a new initiative called the ANA Trust Consortium to help its members address the issue of trust between marketers and the digital supply chain.

The ANA Trust Consortium is an alliance among ANA members and their partners that will be a voice for brands on transparency, measurement, auditing, digital fraud, and brand safety through ongoing reporting and analysis.

As part of its brief, the Trust Consortium will create white papers on best practices and key issues, FAQs, templates, and industry standards for marketers, agencies, and suppliers. Its focus will cover both demand-side and supply-side platforms, including media buying agencies, trading desks, and publishers.

“The ANA Trust Consortium is designed to help marketers advance the interests of their brands and provide them with the tools they need to keep supply chain participants honest and transparent,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “Trust is the foundation of growth and will be restored through full transparency and integrity — not through realignment or pre-negotiated positions.”

Liodice announced the creation of the Trust Consortium at the ANA Advertising Law & Public Policy Conference, which runs March 19–20 in Washington, D.C.

To underline the importance of the trust issue, Liodice cited a new ANA study in which only 29 percent of respondents ranked the current level of trust between client-side marketers and advertising agencies as “high.” The survey, fielded in January 2019 among more than 400 ANA client-side marketers, also showed that 55 percent identified trust as being “moderate” and 17 percent said trust was “low.”

Additionally, versus two to three years ago, the majority of respondents (59 percent) said they feel that trust between client-side marketers and advertising agencies has stayed about the same. More alarmingly, however, more than twice as many respondents (28 percent) feel trust has declined versus those (13 percent) who feel trust has improved.

Transparency was a common denominator across all survey respondents, and the report indicated that enhanced transparency contributed to high trust while transparency concerns contributed to moderate and low trust. Clients taking work in-house that was traditionally handled by an external agency was noted as a secondary reason for the current level of trust between client-side marketers being either moderate or low.

Founding members of the Trust Consortium include the law firm Reed Smith (ANA’s general counsel), Firm Decisions, KPMG, Ebiquity, ID Comms, PJL Media, Reset Digital, PRGX Global, Simulmedia, MediaLink, Ron Pullem, and Cortex Media, among others. Going forward, Reed Smith will assume a leadership role in the Trust Consortium’s overall operations, Liodice said.

Trust and transparency issues have surfaced increasingly over the past several years and currently affect almost every aspect of the marketing ecosystem. The Trust Consortium’s purview includes monitoring trust and transparency in traditional and non-traditional media, digital, programmatic media, out-of-home, experiential events, and measurement.

“It is high time to finally achieve a fully transparent digital media supply chain so we can stop wasting effort on trust issues and instead focus on innovation and creativity to drive growth,” said ANA Chairman and Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard. “While progress has been made, the Trust Consortium will raise the bar to provide brands with the tools they need to prevent inertia from stalling hard-fought advances, expose non-transparent practices, and demand new levels of transparency.”

 

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