Advertising  Contract  Exchange

ADVERTISING TRUST & TRANSPARENCY FORUM

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History

Customizable, drafting and review tool for contract clauses, customizing contracts from a pre-selected criteria/precedent, informed by the continually increasing multi-party knowledge and a variant clauses and commentary. Under this system parties/lawyers are able to effectively and efficiently identify and resolve problem areas during contractual drafting and negotiation. By consolidating the information, providing flexibility and best practices, and sowing light into the contracting process, we believe that the core remediation process of the original compact will continue to defeat the criminals without punishing the innocent publishers as “collateral damage.”

American society is suffering from a severe trust deficit – one that’s affecting everything from our national politics, to the news we consume and to the ads that we see. The advertising and marketing community may not be able to address all these ills, but there are some concrete, realizable steps that can at least ameliorate some of them – something here about how we can do our part – consumers are another form of voting –and the best advertisers should hold ourselves to a higher standed?. And because the industry underpins so much of the communications Americans are exposed to, it behooves it to explore all avenues that can improve the situation. (we have a leadership problem)

A considerable source of the trust problem lies with digital media, which has become enormously powerful in its ability to reach huge audiences, but has not yet evolved the kinds of standards and practices common in older media.  (Strong Point expand a bit)This month the tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared before Congress to publicly acknowledge their role in Russia’s influence on the presidential campaign. They received withering criticism for their lack of transparency, as senators complained that the companies had waited nearly a year to disclose the extraordinary breadth of Americans’ exposure to Russian propaganda – which were far greater than they had previously acknowledged.  But, as the NY Times reported, they offered little more than promises to do better. Frustrated senators pushed for harsher remedies, including regulations on their advertising practices akin to the rules for political advertising on television –e.g., a rule to require reporting of who funds online political ads.

Indeed, too much of the response to the increasing calls for advertisers and agencies to be more open in their business dealings can be categorized as, essentially “lip service”. Besides entailing the possible  risk of governmental regulations, continued resistance to transparency simply compounds the trust deficit – leading to a vicious circle or collapse of trust or trust deficit?

This is the rationale behind the creation of the Advertising Transparency and Trust Forum,  which has participants from major and agencies as well as key trade groups. While recognizing that the advertising industry cannot address all the country’s trust issues, such as “fake news” and misuse of social media, the ATTF recognizes that our communications technologies are powerful, can be used for good or bad whetehr in the marketplace of ideas or consumer products. believes it is time to move towards real solutions. And since the industry provides the financial support for most media, and especially Facebook and Google, it ought to have some influence on how they conduct their business.

Specifically, the ATTF  has identified four key areas of trust deficiency which it believes the advertising community can and should address:

·       Between advertisers and their agencies, especially as regards media rebates and compensation

·       Between media agencies and media sellers particularly as it relates to ad fraud

·       Between consumers and the ads they see (native ad non-disclosure)

·       A general concern about the safety of personal data in the online world

The ATTF believes that real change in behavior will not come about simply with high-minded declarations of good intentions, but in the very concrete area of contractual agreements. To that end, it is developing  the Advertising Contracts Exchange (ACE)  – an open-source database of contract clauses currently used by marketers and agencies. Possible examples would include commitments to:

·       clearly distinguish advertising, public relations and corporate communications from news and editorial content

·       clearly disclose all material conditions (payments, receipt of merchandise) affecting endorsements in social as well as traditional channels

·       strictly protecting consumers’ personal privacy

Making the legal language of clauses like these generally available can, ideally, lead to the identification and adoption of “best practices”. This is particularly necessary for online media, where they are not only lacking, but, due to the fast-changing nature of the medium, constantly in need of updating to address new developments.

It is time, and past time, for the industry to move beyond mere posturing to actually address the trust issues that plague our industry.  And we have an obligation beyond our industry to do so – advertising is the spark plug of the economy and democracy.  We have a powerful engine – we need to make sure that we’ve got an accurate steering wheel.

 

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We at the Trust & Transparency Forum know that finding unbiased advice in this advertising world is hard to come by. That’s why we offer free consultations to walk through your needs and how we can help.

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