Cindy Gallop: Trust crisis demands clients 'completely rethink' agency relationships

Cindy Gallop, the entrepreneur and advertising consultant, has urged clients to completely rethink their agency relationships in the wake of the scandal over kickbacks at US media agencies.

The comments form part of The Trust Crisis: Marketing’s Biggest Challenge, a new documentary series created by Campaign that features some of the industry’s biggest names addressing how to tackle the fundamental disconnect between brands and consumers. 

Gallop explains in the above video: "Clients should step right back and go, we need to completely rethink our agency relationships and we need to examine ourselves in terms of how we can open up and facilitate an environment where agencies don’t feel so bloody squeezed in terms of profit margins and fee negotiations and procurement rigours that they have been forced to resort to this." 

Her comments follow the publication of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report into media transparency, which revealed a litany of non-transparent business practices. 

Steve Allan, CEO of MediaCom, says the advertiser community has to look at what they are doing and asking of agencies. He points to the example of a recent pitch process in which the organisation’s procurement department decided that the pitching agencies should engage in an e-auction of the media space, which they declined to take part in. 

He explains: "What we saw happening to the other two agencies that went through that process was literally one undercutting the other, re-undercutting and undercutting, undercutting and this went on for hours. It was crazy."

Watch the full documentary below, and look out for additional chapters on ad fraud and consumer trust. 

More in this series: Martin Sorrell takes issue with industry’s ‘trust crisis’