How Some Agencies Rig Production Bids to Favor Their In-House Studios

Industry veterans outline a practice now under federal scrutiny

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Sometimes it's a subtle pricing scheme that stacks the deck. Sometimes it's as blatant as calling in a favor.

Either way, the result is the same: Ad agencies are often rigging production bids to favor their in-house studios over independent vendors, according to several veteran producers who spoke to Adweek in the days since a Wall Street Journal report sent shock waves through the advertising industry.

That report revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation to determine whether creative agencies regularly manipulate the bidding process for production contracts in order to send more work to their parent companies or internal studios. 

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