Accountability in Advertising

There has been a lot of talk as of late in regards to the level of accountability that an advertising agency should have when working with an advertiser on it’s branding and campaign endeavors. Since the “Merger Mania” of all the big players in the advertising industry has been in full swing there have been a lot of accounts in review and accounts jumping from one agency to the next.

So what are the advertisers actually looking for, are they looking for new ideas? Perhaps, are they looking to build or rebuild their image? Could be or are they in search of the agency that steps up to the plate and says “Hey we’re partners in the growth of your company and it’s our responsibility to help increase your sales revenue and if we can’t then we shouldn’t get paid”. Simple thought but not 100% realistic because there are a lot of cost associated with developing branding ideas and then launching the initiative. But there has to be a comfortable medium that would make sense to both the ad agency and the advertiser.

Recently at a panel discussion during “Advertising Week” in New York, Stefan Jacoby of Volkswagen made a very strong statement in regards to ad agencies, “The 15% rule is ancient, ad agencies should share accountability with the advertisers”. Low and behold they are working on consolidating their global billion dollar advertising efforts with just one ad agency, as opposed to five or six. Well if that isn’t an indication of things to come then I don’t know what is. Everyone will have an opinion on this subject, as will I, but it doesn’t change the fact that when an advertiser brings in an ad agency, they don’t do that just to create a cool commercial and a catchy line, they do it to help increase their sales revenue. So if the ad agency doesn’t do well, they get fired, but they also get paid their fee.

Maybe that is why there are so many advertisers looking for that right agency, they are looking at smaller independent shops and are seeing results, they are asking the bigger agencies for that special something for their brand and wait for the proposals to roll in.
Competition brings the best out in all of us and that’s what advertisers hope for when they send out that RFP. They look for that one thing that sets one agency above the rest for their brand. I would venture to guess that in VW’s case it may be accountability.

So what is that comfortable medium, maybe it will work as any joint venture or partnership normally works, both parties have something to lose if the partnership or joint venture isn’t profitable. What ever the standards morph into I am sure that it will force ad agencies to tap into their creative souls and come out with their best, develop knock out media plans to send their clients message where it will the most effective and collect their reward at the end of the day. Giving the advertiser what they are looking for and the agency getting what they worked hard for and deserve. As simple as that sounds is as complicated it can be, but that leaves this topic open for discussion.

Louis Victor – New Age Media Concepts


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