Mediasmith Recognized in Transparency Fight

By February 16, 2017Uncategorized



Volume 17, Issue 1

Dave Smith Receives Online Media All Star Award

Mediasmith is proud to highlight Dave Smith’s receipt of the MediaPost Online All Star award recognizing his many years of service to the industry. A key to the award was the position Mediasmith took this year relative to transparency in our Client Bill of Rights.

Through the Anvil, Mediasmith has tried to provide timely and thoughtful reflection and opinion on the issues that the media industry and marketers contend with in their daily work lives. Often, we have written with the intention of spurring a conversation about a single issue that the industry has had to struggle with. This practice has always elicited responses that enabled us to bring constituents together and foster healthy conversation on how a company could best serve marketers and advertisers. Thus, the Anvil has been part of our company model since the advent of digital content and marketing in the 1990s. Mediasmith used the arrival of new technology to the industry as a company-wide opportunity to have a strong voice on the what it meant to advertisers and marketers, and, not the least, our own company. As has become obvious to many in the community, Dave Smith has been our primary spokesperson since the beginning. And, in the beginning he was known as the guy who truly had the perspective on digital as it evolved, but also knew traditional media. To those we worked with in the traditional media space he was exactly the opposite, the guy who knew all the traditional media but was knowledgeable with regards to all things digital.

As mentioned above, one of the larger issues in the last year has been transparency. This came to a head last year with the ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) issuance of two reports, one from K2 that summarized several issues related to kick-backs and arbitrage by media agencies and the holding company trading desks. The other was a report from Ebiquity and that report outlined best practices in transparency. The inconsistency between these reports and the 4A’s Transparency Guidelines led us to create our Client Bill of Rights, driven by our President, John Cate.  Mediasmith subsequently resigned from the 4A’s and joined the ANA.

Mediasmith Morsel

P&G’s Marck Pritchard on Transparency

At the recent IAB Leadership Meeting, P&G’s Mark Pritchard, who is also the Chairman of the ANA, laid down the gauntlet to the  industry on transparency. 2017 will be the year that P&G insists on viewability as table stakes for counting impressions, and full transparency throughout the ad tech ecosystem.

Read More


On January 19, in New York City, Dave accepted the MediaPost Online All Star award recognizing his many years of service to the industry. This 2017 All Star Team includes industry leaders from Marketing, Media, and Creative. In the words of MediaPost, MediaPost’s “Online All Stars celebrates the stars in the online media, advertising and marketing industry, who have pushed the business to new levels of excellence through their outstanding achievements and thought leadership.”It was especially nice to get the kind words from MediaPost’s Joe Mandese in his January 8 article about the All Star Award for Dave Smith where he highlighted Dave’s contributions and Mediasmith’s resignation from the 4As and stand on transparency.

Joe wrote the following:

Recognitions like this frequently throw the word “pioneer” around. But when it comes to pioneering the field of digital media and especially online advertising, Dave Smith is one of the people who helped define it – and he’s still redefining it.

When he founded Mediasmith nearly three decades ago as a fiercely independent media services agency focused on leveraging new and emerging technologies, online advertising didn’t even exist.

And while bigger agencies take much of the credit for helping to shape it, Smith’s neutral, client-centric approach kept it honest and effective, ensuring that it works for the proper stakeholder: Not the agency, or the media, or the litany of ad technology middlemen that emerged over the next several decades, but the advertisers funding the entire food chain.

One of the original “Old Timers,” Smith has influenced the industry dialogue by expressing his views and living up to the principles he espouses.

So, it was not surprising when “transparency” hit the fan, following the Association of National Advertisers’ report and the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ tepid response, Smith pulled Mediasmith’s longtime membership from the ad agency trade group in deference to and support of advertisers.

While Mediasmith was not the first agency to do so, following Empower Media Marketing by a couple of months, it raised the bar when it did, issuing a “Client Bill of Rights,” publishing it for all to see, ideally to incorporate as its own.

The bill may seem to have been crafted as a response to the ANA’s report and own set of recommendations, but the principles precede the ANA initiative, going all the way back to Mediasmith’s roots.

“The 4As is fighting a battle that’s not our battle,” Smith asserted when he unveiled the bill last September. “It’s the battle of New York mega-agency companies. Our battle is to distance ourselves from those in the industry that are doing arbitrage, doing kickbacks, and literally putting it in writing to the tech companies on when and where to send the money.

“It comes down to whether your feel it’s the client’s money or not. We feel it’s the client’s.”


Mediasmith Morsel

Advertisers Looking at Agency Contracts for Transparency A study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) – a trade body that represents brands such as P&G, L’Oréal, and Emirates – found that nearly 90% of the advertisers it polled are reviewing their programmatic advertising contracts and  demanding more control and transparency.

 Read the full Business Insider article