GLOBAL BRIEF: US shops call for data control - Consultants have received guidelines on information handling

Ad agencies like to make the point that in this business, information is power. In the US, especially, agencies compare the size of their research departments against the opposition in a way that would make teenage boys blush.

Ad agencies like to make the point that in this business,

information is power. In the US, especially, agencies compare the size

of their research departments against the opposition in a way that would

make teenage boys blush.



Unfortunately, something terrible is happening. Crucial information no

longer resides with the agency, but is the preserve of the

consultant.



And agencies are adamant this situation has to change.



These consultants work in similar ways to the UK’s Advertising Agency

Register. Thus, companies such as Pile & Co of Boston assemble

information on agencies, with a print portfolio and showreel, and charge

clients for reviews based on this information.



But there are differences. US agencies are concerned that their

consultants have started to exploit the information they gather as a

result of this process. That they request information from agencies

that’s not strictly germane to the review at hand; that they make no

undertaking as to what they will do with this confidential information

in the future; that they use their privileged position to help pick up

cosy consultancy arrangements with agencies on the list and that they

request information without naming the client that is seeking it.



It’s an impressive list of charges - the very list that the Four As (the

US equivalent of the IPA) New Business Committee would like to see

banned.



The organisation last week published a set of guidelines for

consultancies outlawing these practices. But could they spread over

here?



Martin Jones, managing director of the AAR, thinks not. ’The problem for

US agencies is that new business is often won by clients simply ticking

off a list. Attributes such as location of overseas offices are scored

and the business is awarded to the agency that scores highest. It puts

the consultant in a powerful position,’ he says. ’In the UK, the

situation is different - the process is much more intuitive. The list of

attributes is used as a check to ensure the agency is sufficiently

equipped to handle the business.’



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content