How to prevent and handle disputes

in contracts between an Advertising Agency and their customer?



By Timothé Favier

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




The advertising industry is developing on every communication media, it can be TV, radio, internet or point of sales. To date, many companies do not do their own advertising campaign but they under treat to advertising agency that are specialized in the creation of add. However, the disputes between companies and advertising agency is becoming a real problem. When disputes and conflicts happens, the production process of the advertising campaign is affected and delayed. To do so, it is an emergency to solve them in an appropriate and durable way. Throughout this paper and by referring to different documents, we choose six feasible alternatives. Thanks to different criterions we select the best alternative which is prevention by using Compensatory Model Additive Weighting Technique that is the more efficient way to solve the dispute from the root.

Key words: advertising, disputes, customers, contracts, prevention, control


A project according to Max Wideman[1] is « A process or undertaking that encompasses an entire set of activities having a definable starting point and well defined objectives the delivery of which signal the completion of the project. Projects are usually required to be accomplished within limited resources.”

In that sense, in an advertising company each new ad is a project because according to Planning Planet[2] a project is the objective to product within a fixed period of time and limited resources. To do so, for each ad they will have deadlines fixed with their customers and suppliers, the project manager will be in charge of setting up a working schedule. All those ads that are project are under a huge program that is the advertising campaign. According to Planning planet[3] a program is   containing multiple projects with a common purpose. To succeed in this program within projects each advertising companies must have a portfolio of assets that are all the methods, technologies and process use in the making of advertising campaigns.

The difficulty between the Advertising Agency and their customer is to find the common interest in order to avoid conflicts and so avoid a waste of time. The Advertising Agency regularly faces disputes with their customer which can arise at any stage of the project, and that can often have a strong negative impact on one or both parties to the conflict and thus, on the project. To succeed in agreeing and implementing an advertising contract, both parties need to have strong competencies in management and conflict management.

The main causes of disputes[4] between the different stakeholders are related to money issues such as payment or even sometimes the customer thinks that the quote is way to expensive and that it does not respect the contract. Disputes can also happen when the Advertising Agency does not respect the specifications from A to Z for some reason. Also, in advertising contract, conflicts can happen when one of the parties does not respect the confidentiality of the project. But beyond all this, the main reasons of disputes in advertising contracts are: plagiarism and non-respect of the dead lines. In any case, solutions must be found quickly to avoid the failure of the project and that of one or both parties end in conflict.

This Fishbone Diagram[5] below illustrates the problem and its main causes:


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Favier, T. (2019). How to prevent and handle disputes in contracts between an Advertising Agency and their customer? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue III (April).  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pmwj80-Apr2019-Favier-how-to-prevent-and-handle-disputes-in-advertising.pdf



About the Author

Timothé Favier

Paris, France



Timothé Favier was born in Lyon, is 23 years old and is a graduate student of Project and Program Management and Business Development at Skema Business School in Paris. He has always been a strong entrepreneur with a strong desire to work worldwide.

His numerous international experiences include an internship in Canada, studies in Brazil, and many other trips that gave him the opportunity to understand culture differences, to open his mind and so to be able to solve problems easier and to become more innovative. He is highly interested in project management and his main upcoming challenges; he is pursuing certification in PRINCE2 and AgilePM.

Timothé is not only defined by professional experiences. He has also one principal passion: Basketball. He is passionate about basketball which he has practiced for more than 10 years, this sport enabled him to develop his team spirit and taste for competition.




[1] Wideman, M. (2018). Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v5.5. Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/pmglossary/PMG_P12.htm#Project

[2] programme project controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (planning planet). (2009). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/wiki/422363/programme

[3] Planet, P. (2009). programme | project controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (planning planet). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/wiki/422363/programme

[4] Hiscox, M. (2015, July 1). How to manage risk in marketing, advertising and communications – the ultimate guide Hiscox Business Blog. Retrieved from https://www.hiscox.co.uk/business-blog/how-to-manage-risk-in-marketing-advertising-and-communications-the-ultimate-guide/

[5] By author