Advertising agencies have always had a love/hate relationship with new business pitches. We all love to win new business. But we hate the process of a pitch. A big (or even a small) pitch can tie up agency personnel for weeks, draining attention and resources from existing clients. When you factor in doing research and hiring freelance creative teams, a pitch can be very expensive. Plus, you can never be totally sure that everything about the pitch is on the up and up. Is the playing field level? Or does one agency have an inside track with the client because of a previous relationship? A few agencies avoid the problem by refusing to take part in speculative pitches all together.
There is one other contentious issue about pitches: who owns the ideas that are presented, the agency or the client? One company has answered that question in its search for a new corporate image campaign. Prudential Financial is paying each of the three finalists up to $300,000 for the ideas presented. Prudential will own the ideas. That raises an interesting question: might they actually produce the idea from one agency, but give the account to one of the other agencies? Or hire none of the three and produce the work on their own? It will be interesting to see how this story plays out and how it might influence the course of future pitches. Stay tuned.
“Prudential Eyes 2 Agencies” – Adweek