A year ago today (June 7, 2016), K2 Intelligence released an Association of National Advertisers’ commissioned study entitled, An Independent Study of Media Transparency in the U.S. Advertising Industry. The painstakingly-researched and detailed report identified numerous non-transparent business practices that were alleged to be pervasive in the U.S. media ad buying ecosystem. Reminiscent of the Barbarians at the Gate and the Big Short, the findings sent shock waves throughout the industry by suggesting a fundamental disconnect between advertisers and their media agencies. The report disclosed that long-standing rumors of complicated schemes to hide and divert rebates and other incentives were well-founded and that media agencies were not necessarily acting in the best interests of their clients by, among other things, wrongfully retaining rebates and other incentives given to them by media platforms/publishers that were rightfully the property of the advertisers. Some headlines read “…CEO Alleges Widespread U.S. Agency Kickbacks” and “Kickbacks. Yes. They’re Real.”
While non-transparency was an issue well before the K2 Report was released (see WTF is Agency Transparency?), on this anniversary of the K2 Intelligence Report, here’s a summary of how the industry has evolved over the last year.
Read the full ReedSmith article here.