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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