NEWS29 April 2016

ISBA criticised over demand for contract clarity

Legal Media News Trends UK

UK — The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), the trade body for advertisers in the UK, has met with criticism following a move to standardise brand and media agency negotiations. 


ISBA sent out a 51-page standard contract to many of the UK’s top advertisers in an attempt to improve transparency and ‘redefine relationships’ between brands and media agencies.

According  to a story in the Financial Times, the move came following growing concern about how agencies manage their media budgets: specifically the idea that agencies are not always fully transparent and the suspicion that rebates from media companies are not always passed back to clients.  

Debbie Morrison, director of consultancy and best practice at ISBA, was quoted as saying: "I don’t believe that [the media agencies] have got the best interests of their clients at heart anymore."

However, it has been met with criticism. Paul Bainsfair, the director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (who has not reviewed the contract and so said he couldn't comment on its content), responded: "Since the contract has been developed by ISBA for advertisers and solely from their perspective, it is highly likely that it will not be even-handed.

"If this is the case we will not be recommending that IPA member agencies agree to use it."

ISBA worked with city law firm Fieldfisher to create the new terms, supported by five media consultants, including MediaSense, Ebiquity, ID Comms, Firmdecisions, and Financial Progression.

Other industry figures have welcomed the move towards greater transparency.