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Today saw a quantum leap forward on media transparency issues with the news that the7stars and Bountiful Cow, the UK’s biggest independent media agency group, will adopt ISBA’s template framework agreement for media services.
The terms, drafted with lawyers Fieldfisher, were launched in April 2016 and backed by ISBA’s members representing 450 major brands. The agreement was created to engender more open and transparent commercial relationships between clients and media agencies, at a time when trust is under threat.
The contract also enables discussions and commitments around standards in digital media, e.g. how bot/click fraud, viewability, content verification and brand safety will be handled contractually.
The ISBA contract was also designed to reflect contemporary client/media agency relationships which can span across multiple disciplines, on and off-line media, sponsorship, social media, branded content and much more.
ISBA and the7stars worked closely to adapt the contract so it is relevant to the agencies’ business, whilst still maintaining full protection/disclosure on transparency. the7stars, which handles £250m of annual billings, and Bountiful Cow are built on the premise of transparency so objectives were, in the main, aligned.
Debbie Morrison, director of consultancy and best practice at ISBA, said:
“I was excited when the7stars approached us to discuss how they could use the ISBA media services template in their own business. We discussed potential amendments and very soon found we could agree on most points of change without materially affecting the ambitions of our document to provide more transparent, better managed agreements for clients. Of course the new template should still be scrutinised and negotiated by clients but it’s a great start. We very much welcome this joint initiative and our door is firmly open for conversations with other agencies.”
Phil Smith, ISBA’s director general, said:
“In the light of P&G’s recent announcement of contract reviews worldwide, calling for transparency and digital standards, this collaboration with the7stars is a hugely important first step in providing UK advertisers with the tools to help enable the clean and transparent media supply chain envisioned in Mark Pritchard’s speech.”
Jenny Biggam, the7stars, said:
“We work to a number of unique contracts with different advertisers but our business principles are consistent and clear, and we are fully transparent. We support ISBA's attempts to drive greater transparency from UK media agencies and we approached them to discuss their proposed contract. We are delighted that we have now agreed a version of the contract that we will be happy to use with any client.”
Henry Daglish, founder of Bountiful Cow, added:
“As the new kids on the block we will be adopting this contract framework from the outset. The agreement sets the standard of the way that we work with all of our clients.”
Notes to editors
The Framework Agreement for Media Buying & Planning Services was launched April 26 2016 to ISBA members.
ISBA worked closely with their members (450 major brands), expert lawyers and experienced media consultants to surface current key issues, some elements of which were starting to undermine the trust between clients and their media agencies.
They found that many media agency contracts currently in use were lacking in protection on transparency issues and essential detail, especially around digital matters and in particular click fraud, viewability, verification and brand safety, leaving media agencies without a vital brief on client expectations.
The initiative was supported by five mainstream media consultants (MediaSense, Ebiquity, ID Comms, Firmdecisions, and Financial Progression).
ISBA and the leading media consultants believe that with the media ecosystem getting more complex and potentially more opaque, that it is now more important than ever for advertisers to have clear and strong contracts with their media agency.
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