Campaign UK

More coun­tries join call for stricter pro­duc­tion rules

- By Brit­taney Kiefer

The de­bate around stricter guide­lines for ad agency pro­duc­tion arms has gath­ered steam as pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies in France, Ger­many and the US have pledged not to pitch against agen­cies’ in-house di­vi­sions.

Thirty-six French pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies have is­sued an open let­ter urg­ing ad agen­cies not to pitch with their own pro­duc­tion units if they have in­vited in­de­pen­dent bids.

It fol­lows the on­go­ing US Depart­ment of Jus­tice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether agen­cies are rig­ging pro­duc­tion bids to favour their own di­vi­sions.

The let­ter said: “We re­it­er­ate our op­po­si­tion to a sys­tem wherein agen­cies be­come both judge and jury as re­gards cer­tain com­pe­ti­tions and, as such, lose the im­par­tial­ity re­quired for our sec­tor to func­tion ef­fec­tively.

“This au­thor­i­tar­ian, ad­ver­sar­ial and non-trans­par­ent sys­tem has en­gen­dered prac­tices which we deem anti-com­pet­i­tive and which threaten the rich­ness and diver­sity of French ad­ver­tis­ing pro­duc­tions.”

The Ger­man pro­duc­ers as­so­ci­a­tion, Pro­duzen­te­nal­lianz, has also re­fused to com­pete against agency pro­duc­tion teams. The al­liance of 240 com­pa­nies will in­clude a state­ment in their bid letters to con­firm their stance.

In the US, the As­so­ci­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Com­mer­cial Pro­duc­ers has rec­om­mended its mem­bers in­clude sim­i­lar in­for­ma­tion in bid letters.

Steve Davies, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Ad­ver­tis­ing Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said world­wide re­ac­tion re­in­forces the APA’S call for stricter UK guide­lines.

In Jan­uary, 84 UK pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies signed a let­ter to say they refuse to be part of a sys­tem in which agen­cies in­vite ex­ter­nal bids for pro­duc­tion work they are con­sid­er­ing pitch­ing them­selves.

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