Criticism moves contractors to act on outdoor poster methods

Poster contractors are addressing head-on the issue of transparency in the outdoor ad market. The bid to clean up trading methods is a response to an attack from media buyers on the issue of agency commission.

Poster contractors are addressing head-on the issue of transparency

in the outdoor ad market. The bid to clean up trading methods is a

response to an attack from media buyers on the issue of agency

commission.



Lack of transparency, which has tarnished the image of the medium, is to

be pushed to the top of the Outdoor Advertising Association’s agenda

next month, amid attempts by some of the biggest contractors to clean up

the area of volume discounts and sur-commissions.



Francis Goodwin, the managing director of Maiden Roadside, said: ’Some

specialists say they tell their clients and agencies they’re earning

this money, but there’s a lack of consistency and clarity. The whole

system is flawed because it distorts the marketplace.’



Goodwin confirmed that the issue will be addressed at OAA level, and

said advertisers would be encouraged to get involved: ’We need a proper

debate with advertisers and agencies to talk about whether they really

want to continue trading in this way.’



According to one source, poster buying specialists are able to use a

computer system that tells them where to place their business ’to earn

themselves the maximum profit in terms of add-ons rather than the best

sites for their clients’.



However, two of the biggest contractors, Maiden and Mills and Allen,

have come under fire from media buyers and specialists for their close

co-operation over this issue. Observers are concerned that the two

companies could discuss joint sales practices (Campaign, last week).



Goodwin refuted the suggestion that there was the danger of a cartel

being established. ’We’re taking the flak because we’re standing up and

saying something’s got to be done. At least we’ve got the debate going,’

he said.



Media Forum, page 18.



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