There is a growing mistrust of the media in the United States. Never before has the American public felt as if they were mere pawns to some hidden agenda. Proof of such distrust is apparent by the accolades thrown at Presidential Candidate Donald Trump when he called a member of the media “sleazy”. It has long been suspected that ad agencies use hidden arrangements with businesses to increase their profits by unwittingly swaying the public, but now the allegations are being extended to the US media.
Leading the charge is the ANA, who represents such giants as Coca-Cola, General Motors, AT&T and Procter & Gamble. Their investigation found that as many as four-fifths of ad placements are based on undisclosed dealings that the clients are completely unaware of. The Association of National Advertisers recent report lends credence to the notion that media companies are being awarded rebates of various sorts due to undisclosed dealings with parent companies. What that means for the average American citizen is that the media may be nothing more than propaganda of the worst sort. The alleged secret hidden agendas are said to persuade agencies to spend their client’s money according to their interest only. Benefiting the ad agencies to the detriment of the clients they serve, many companies are calling for more investigative probes into the practices of ad agencies. The biggest problem plaguing the ad agencies is that there are no standards of ethics or controls. Allowed to operate pretty much rogue as they see fit, no wonder that solicited deals and payoffs are the norms in the industry. What it is leading to is widespread overcharging of clients and anti-competitive practices being perpetrated on companies from small time to Fortune 500. Although legal, rebates are a way that ad agencies entice consumers to monopolise their marketing and advertising. Promising that the more they use a specific ad agency, the more free ads and discounts they will receive, many companies will give them free reign to make decisions for the company’s overall marketing scheme.
Until now, most companies had no idea that the exposure they were gaining had nothing to do with the betterment of their marketing strategy. It is more based on secret agendas, hidden alliances and monopolising of the ad agencies and media guided by parent companies. What the ad agencies are practising is somewhat equal to the notion of insider trading or monopoly pricing tactics of other industries. The problem is that without any standards of conduct or governing agencies to oversee what goes on behind closed doors, it will likely run rampant until someone cries foul. For now, that means that are not only companies being manipulated but also the American public. Being swayed by the monopolisation of huge conglomerates, not only in monetary value but ideology, you have to start to wonder how much the land of the free is truly free, especially when it comes to freedom of free thinking.