- Industry organizations 4A's and the Association of National Advertisers are joining resources to create a task force dedicated to addressing allegations of agencies pocketing discounts from volume media buys and not passing the "kickbacks" on to clients.
- The 10-person group includes representatives from some of the industries most prominent agencies including WPP's GroupM, Omnicom Media Group, and Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group, as well as marketing leaders from brands including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal, and Subway.
- Profiting from volume-buy discounts is a common practice in Asia and Latina America, but agencies have long denied that the practice exists in the U.S. Allegations from former media agency CEO Jon Mandel have sparked the investigation.
Ultimately, this investigation is all about transparency—something agencies should already be in the habit of practicing. It will be interesting to find out the true magnitude of the problem of discount kickbacks in the U.S. agency world. Adweek pointed out the possibility that Mandel, who has a vested interest in pointing out agencies' problems as a brand marketer, may be exaggerating the problem.