Who does not have a list of good purposes that drag from January to September? In the advertising industry, the equivalent of our "going to the gym" or "learning English" is transparency.
It is three years since the explosive report of the American Advertisers Association (ANA) that uncovered the opacity in relations between advertisers and agencies in the United States, as well as irregularities in the payment of incentives and fraudulent remuneration. If we add to the cocktail the news of scams in online advertising and the scandal of filtering millions of data from Facebook users in the Cambridge Analytica case, few will be surprised that the reports continue to place the word transparency as a priority for advertisers.
It is clear that transparency must be bidirectional, it is positive for all and implies rights and obligations
"In addition, the crisis and fierce competition mean that now more than ever, the advertiser wants to know what each euro is spending on its advertising investment, and what return is being offered to it," says the dean of the Advertising Committee. i RP of Catalunya Rosa Romà.
Despite the often divergent perceptions of the actors involved, advertisers, media and agencies agree on three conclusions: transparency must be bidirectional, it is positive for all and implies rights but also obligations.
The director of the creative agency McCann in Barcelona, Carla Tortosa, confirms that now clients demand more transparency, "but sometimes they are themselves who do not want to know what we invest in, they want a closed price, and that is not a relationship of trust " In this sense, the Director of Media and CRM of Danone, Carlos Bosch, points out that "remuneration models have to be updated: to the production chain more and more chairs, intermediaries and agents have been added, and ideally relations and Remuneration of each of the parties should be transparent and stipulated. They are often more complex than a conventional salary. "
The mistrust generated by scandals of disguised remuneration or fraud in programmatic advertising has ended up sowing a climate of distrust "that leads the advertiser to want to pay less because he thinks you are spoiling him," laments Tortosa. Opacity is the enemy to beat. The case is that "more transparency, less chance of generating distrust," he says.
One of the most explored ways to maintain trustworthy relationships is to open up to thorough audits and contracts between agency and clients. The director in Barcelona of the marketing consultancy Ebiquity, Rosa Gil, considers that the relationship between agency and advertiser "is not a marriage for love, but for convenience, and that is positive because it allows to be exhaustive with the rules of the game".
The momentum of the digital world and the entry into force of new data protection laws have given the final push for the industry to update its practices. Now, reversing the inertia of the sector is not an easy task. "It was and still is common to work without formal contracts. In the Latin culture we are not very good with paperwork and formalities, "adds Bosch.
With programmatic advertising the concern for opacity is triggered and the challenge requires contracts as detailed as flexible that can adapt to a technological reality that mutates at full speed. "Sometimes it is more complicated to change the mentality of a large company that has worked all their lives without contracts to draft clauses on the most cutting-edge technologies," concludes Gil.