Agencies face ‘open book’ policy after Aegis ruling

A German court ruling forcing media network Aegis to reveal how much discount it received for advertising placed on behalf of Danone could force greater transparency from all media agencies, according to industry experts.

Last month, judges at Munich’s Court of Appeal ruled that Aegis Media Germany must tell Danone how much it received in discounts between 2003 and 2005, when it held the yoghurt maker’s German advertising account.

The preliminary verbal decision will now be ratified in a written ruling, which Aegis can contest.

Harvey Sarjant, managing director for the online ad-serving network Addvantage Media, says the outcome of the case will help to ensure media neutrality.

“This case highlights the need for more balance when it comes to media planning and buying, and showcases whether or not the preferred supplier agreements some agencies operate under are affecting media neutrality.”

However, a former head of media for an FMCG giant says media spends should always be scrutinised, and preferred supplier discounted space is nothing new.

“I doubt what is eventually published will be revelatory. It’s no secret that deals are there to be made in media buying, so it may encourage more transparency – but I’m not sure if the ramifications would be long-lasting,” he says.

The written ruling is due before the end of the month. Aegis says it intends to contest the judgment.



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