According to an Ad Age article posted today, the FBI has turned to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and its members for cooperation with an ongoing “criminal investigation into media buying practices” of service providers.
There are a number of global media buying agencies caught up in the probe, but no word on larger local players being part of the investigation.
The FBI investigation was likely the result of the ANA’s own investigation amid complaints from members about transparency and contract compliance issues on the part of media buyers and the media suppliers.
The ANA probe resulted in the issuance of a K2 report in 2016 which supported member claims of some agencies withholding cash rebates from clients as well as other transparency issues, and a new, highly detailed, media contract template as well as best practices. While media buying practices and contract terms can vary by country, problems identified in the K2 report were not limited to international markets.
ANA members are encouraged to contact the organization’s lead counsel, Reed Smith, which serves as interface between the ANA and FBI, if they believe their media agency relationships warrant further scrutiny.
There is no indication at this time as to when the FBI investigation will be completed.
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