Britain’s advertisers are moving towards a common standard for assessing
how well - or badly - their agencies are performing.
The new benchmark is the result of the most comprehensive survey ever
commissioned by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers to find
out what clients think of their agencies.
Now, the establishment of agreed criteria by clients is being seen as a
move towards bringing more US-style emphasis on accountability to the UK
With a thaw in relations between ISBA and the Institute of Practitioners
in Advertising, ISBA executives were this week emphasising that the
survey results were not intended to be used as a stick with which to
But in an introduction to the report, John Hooper, ISBA’s director
general, warns: ‘The management of advertising is becoming more complex
and accountable, necessitating, in turn, some means of objective
The verdict on agencies, delivered by 130 clients with a combined annual
spend of more than pounds 1 billion, is: ‘Good, but could do better.’
While agencies in general reap high praise for their contribution to
clients’ marketing objectives and an understanding of their brands,
there remains widespread dissatisfaction over their ability to deliver
value for money.
Dr Ian Chaston, research co-ordinator at Plymouth Business School, which
carried out the year-long survey, said: What this report concludes is
that the high expenditure days of advertising are gone. Clients are
looking for people to make their marketing programmes more successful.
It’s the agencies that are the most professional that will survive.’
Chris Baker, BST-BDDP’s planning director, who was a consultant for the
survey, said: ‘You could say agencies must concentrate on sorting out
the problem of offering value for money. That’s true but it also has to
be remembered that agencies provide a non-standardised service.’
ISBA is also commissioning a software package to enable advertisers to
adapt the report’s findings to their own situations.