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
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,’
Media Forum, page 18.