GLOBAL BRIEF: ANA opens door for agencies - The US body has gambled on allowing agencies into its group

The Association of National Advertisers’ mission statement is nothing if not ambitious. The US advertisers’ body boldly states it wants to ’lead, not follow, the industry in meeting the needs of advertisers, agencies and the media’, and ’to be broadly recognised as a highly innovative and aggressive organisation representing the leaders in American industry’.

The Association of National Advertisers’ mission statement is

nothing if not ambitious. The US advertisers’ body boldly states it

wants to ’lead, not follow, the industry in meeting the needs of

advertisers, agencies and the media’, and ’to be broadly recognised as a

highly innovative and aggressive organisation representing the leaders

in American industry’.



It is this kind of ambition that led to the ANA’s shock announcement at

its annual conference last week that it will now accept advertising

agencies as members.



The organisation concedes that there will be clashes, particularly on

issues such as copyright and agency remuneration, on which advertisers

and agencies are unlikely to present a united front. But it has decided

the advantages of increased clout, not to mention income, outweigh the

drawbacks.



The ANA stresses it does not want to replicate the work of the American

Advertising Federation - the US trade body that incorporates advertisers

and agencies - or of the American Association of Advertising Agencies,

the US version of Britain’s Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising.



’In the last few years we have moved away from public affairs to become

more of a brand-building organisation,’ Andrew Cooper, the senior

communications director at the ANA, says. ’The aim now is to address the

brand-building challenges of tomorrow including the internet and the

increasingly global marketplace.’



Trade bodies in the UK agree that such a move would be inconceivable

here. John Hooper, the director-general of the Incorporated Society of

British Advertisers, says: ’In the UK, I would argue why do we need to

accept agencies when we already have a forum for advertisers, agencies

and the media to work together in the Advertising Association?’



But the ANA’s decision will have to be considered carefully by trade

bodies worldwide. Many of the ’leaders of US industry’ who make up the

ANA are also heads of multinational companies who will want to see the

move replicated elsewhere if successful.



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