Value pots refer to the bank of free ad inventory media buying groups accrue as credit once they reach an agreed level of spend with a media owner. Also known as ‘value banks’, they are a contentious practice in the marketing industry.
Practices can include ‘on selling’ to clients by agencies at a higher rate or creating fictitious discount scenarios – an agency might claim it secured the advertiser a 70% discount, when in reality it was given free to them anyway. It’s not unusual for such deals to be included in annual reviews in order to secure bonus money for attaining ‘cost savings’ for clients. There are concerns amongst marketers that agencies are spending their budgets with media owners simply to meet the value bank agreement they have in place, rather than investing money in the brand’s best interests. Having independent oversight in this area keeps everyone in check.