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Industry associations ‘do nothing’ on transparency | Mumbrella360 video

In this session from Mumbrella360, a panel of consultants and board members get honest about transparency (or the lack thereof) in Australia's industry associations.

Marketing relationships consultant and Trinity P3 founder Darren Woolley says associations collectively “do nothing” on transparency, during the following session from Mumbrella360.

Despite being warned of the issue five years ago, Woolley says associations still remain inactive, waiting for each other to take a lead.

The comments come after the Mumbrella360 conference panel are asked why, unlike other countries, the Australian industry has not stepped up its debate on transparency.

It’s not the first time Woolley has attacked trade bodies. Last June he lambasted the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) for failing to take a stance on transparency, blaming involvement by media agencies for its inaction.

“We have too many associations that are social clubs,” Woolley says. “They purely exist to leverage their influence either as advertisers or agencies.

“We have so many associations and what are they doing? Collectively nothing because they all expect someone else to do it. They say ‘Oh, we haven’t got the resources’ or ‘That’s not our area of expertise’ or ‘We are not really responsible’.

“So if you really want to improve things let’s shut down 90% of them and start focusing on what this is about, which is building value and creating growth in a sustainable way.

“Why have we got lost? Because there’s all these interest groups out there peddling crap. That is the trouble. They are doing it for their own self aggrandisement.”

News Corp chief digital officer Nicole Sheffield, who chairs IAB Australia and sits on other association boards, suggests part of the reason was that local industry associations are “tiny” compared to counterparts in the US.

“There is smaller investment and you have to pick what battles to fight,” she says. “What tends to happen is that, where possible, we use global best practice. To reinvent the wheel here would take a lot of money and time and how different are we?”

Nicole Sheffield, Darren Woolley, James Grant, Michelle Katz and Alex Hayes at Mumbrella360

However, Sheffield also admits industry associations have become “murky” on how they define transparency.

“It’s probably not a popular thing to say but… people like the AANA have talked about viewability, but the IAB is on that so just let them do what they are doing. Let it be led by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.”

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