Ad-agency leaders gathering early last week in New Orleans for the American Association of Advertising Agencies' annual Transformation Conference struck a largely cohesive tone until Tuesday morning, when sparks flew on a rare panel of media-agency chiefs.
The contentious topic? How should media agencies make money on their digital-media trading desks.
The oft-debated issue was raised by moderator David Verklin -- a former media-agency chief himself, and now partner at Calera Capital -- when he directed a pointed question to Group M Chairman-CEO Irwin Gotlieb: "If you agree that clients' business comes first, where do you stand on transparency? How can trading desks be fair to your clients?"