June 08, 2016

ANA Report A Disgrace. 4A's Response A Joke.

The ANA released its long-awaited report on “transparency” yesterday and it’s a piece of shit.

It's hard to imagine that there was ever a report on transparency that was less transparent.

It tarnishes everyone in general and no one in particular.

It reaches conclusions that were reached by anyone with a functioning brain years ago. Even dumbass bloggers.

The ANA interviewed about 150 people in and around the media/agency/client world and came up with conclusions you could have reached interviewing 3 puppy dogs and a salami sandwich.

Here’s what we learned:
  • Clients have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. The people who are supposed to know what’s going on (CMOs) are clueless buffoons. This is news? To whom?
  • Ad tech has been a disaster for clients and an amazing source of tainted money for agencies — “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Here at The Ad Contrarian worldwide headquarters we’ve only been talking about this for centuries.
  • Client purchasing/procurement departments are incompetent and are accomplishing the exact opposite of their intended effect. The more they’re trying to fuck agencies the more they’re getting fucked in return. Agency sharpies are running rings around these dimwits.
Here’s what the report failed to do:
  • Give us specific examples of who did what to whom. Without specifics, everyone’s a suspect and no one’s a crook.
  • Give us any idea what the comparative levels of corruption are in different media. They went out of their way a number of times to protect the online industry by stating that the dirty dealings are not limited to online. But it’s obvious from the language and the examples that the web is the muy grande cesspool of corruption.
  • Although the report is laden with the terms “digital” and “ad tech” they failed to make the obvious connection between the growth of sleazy media buying practices and the scourge of ad tech.
  • They claim that corruption is rampant and not just limited to holding companies, but fail to give us any idea of the relative balance. Once again, they went out of their way a number of times to protect the holding companies by stating that the sleaze is not limited to them. But it’s obvious from the language and the examples that holding companies are the sneakiest, sleaziest of the culprits.
  • They failed to correlate the growth of corruption to the rise of holding companies. From the report: “Five of the six major agency holding companies and their affiliated companies declined formal requests to make any of their current executives available to be interviewed.” What else do you need to know?
There is no one who has been more critical of agency buying practices over the years than I have. I called for an investigation years ago. In a post called "Time To Clean Out The Stables" I wrote
"Everything about online advertising is corrupt. The promises are corrupt. The data is corrupt. The suppliers are corrupt. And the buying and selling is corrupt. This industry is in desperate need of investigation."
But this "investigation" is pathetic. It doesn't name names. It doesn't follow the money. It doesn't provide any specifics. It just gives us "he said/she said," which is great ammo for guilty agencies to shoot back at the ANA.

It's worse than a whitewash. It’s a blackwash.

It taints everyone and accuses no one.

Then we have the 4A's reaction. The less said about this witless nonsense the better.

If you wanted to create an example of how guilty parties obfuscate and throw horseshit in your face, you couldn't have done a better job. It's a text book example of how to torture language to be unmistakably devious and unconvincing. They need a better agency.

Anyone who believes the 4A's response is anything other than a pathetic smokescreen is a moron.

What has to happen is that someone has to do a real investigation and name names and tear open the books. This will identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

If the 4A's were representing innocent parties, and had any sense, they would initiate a thorough investigation themselves. It would go a long way toward clearing their name and restoring their credibility.

The chances of that happening? The square root of diddly.

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