Comms Council & AANA: Clients and agencies need to be clear on confidentiality

Margaret zabelThe Communications Council has warned its members to be clear on expectations around confidentiality between clients and agencies, after a Sydney agency displayed confidential campaign materials for a radio station near a street-level window.

Sydney agency Joy was left red-faced after images of their creative work for a rebrand of radio station Mix FM to Kiis FM were found to be clearly visible to passers by in the street. Images taken by one passer-by were then sent to Mumbrella.

Coms Council CEO Margaret Zabel said it was important that both clients and agencies set expectations around confidentially as some clients had different needs in this area.

“Confidentiality is very important to clients and it should also be very important to their agencies. There are different degrees of confidentiality depending on what it is and depending on the client,” she said.

“The important thing is for the client and agency to discuss issues like confidentiality very clearly and to understand what it means for that client. In many cases some markets are much more competitive than others and there are different needs and risks which is why its important to discuss the issue. You need a clear understanding of expectations.”

One of the KissFM images sent to Mumbrella

One of the KissFM images sent to Mumbrella

The Joy/ARN incident saw the client issue a statement saying: ”We take our agency relationships seriously and we’ll be discussing this with Joy.”

Zabel would not be drawn on the incident but said: “Client/agency confidentiality is critically important and our members are all very well aware of it and are mindful of it.”

Joy is not a member of the Communications Council.

Zabel said the key to ensuring confidentiality was that agencies treated their client’s work “as your own and that is that the heart of this”.

CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Sunita Gloster would also not draw on the Joy incident but said confidentiality was a “two way street”.

“Confidentiality is a basic and  fundamental component of any professional client/agency relationship. Both parties typically undertake to keep some information confidential. A base expectation is that an agency takes reasonable steps to ensure client information or campaign elements remain confidential until such time as the client approves it for public release.”

Nic Christensen 


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