Justice Department Probe: Did Ad Agencies Rig Bids to Favor In-House Production Units?

Dec 7, 2016  •  Post A Comment

“The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether advertising agencies inappropriately steered business producing commercials to their in-house production units over independent companies by rigging the bidding process for those contracts, according to people familiar with the matter,” report Suzanne Vranica and Brent Kendall in The Wall Street Journal.

The story reports: “Rebecca Meiklejohn, a government antitrust attorney based in New York, has been interviewing ad industry executives on the subject over the past few months, the people said.”

Advertising Age, in a follow-up to the Journal story, wrote: “The Association of National Advertisers, which has been pushing the topic of transparency related to media throughout the year, finds the information about the investigation ‘very disturbing,’ according to a statement from ANA CEO Bob Liodice.

The Ad Age report quotes Liodice saying in the statement: “It’s especially interesting to note that this revelation comes only six months after we released the results of our own investigation with K2 Intelligence into allegations of rebates, non-transparency, and related issues in the U.S. media ecosystem. This new development raises even more concerns about trust between advertisers and their agencies and we plan to follow it closely as it develops.”

To read more about this item, please click on the links above, which will take you to the stories in The Wall Street Journal and Ad Age.

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