There’s a moment of unintentional humour in the Kwik Fit advertising tender document that prompts a snort of derision. While the process the company is suggesting to hire a new agency partner is far from funny, the name of the proposed brand campaign that it wants agencies to pitch for is "we care". Judging by the pitch process, Kwik Fit doesn’t seem to care that much – well, at least not about advertising.
Kwik Fit wants agencies to e-mail over proposed creative treatments, even though it hasn’t met with any of them to discuss the business. Therefore, by extension, it also doesn’t seem to care about the implementation of its new brand positioning – the changing of consumer behaviour so that customers use Kwik Fit for preventative maintenance rather than just urgent repairs. And so, ultimately, it doesn’t seem to care about meeting its own business objectives.
The brief asks agencies to come up with the creation of "a hard-hitting campaign able to deliver a strong promotional footfall-driving campaign and also a campaign that starts to shift our key brand metric", as well as launch its new "band [sic] positioning". More care in the writing of these sentences would have helped too.
Bafflingly, in the style of the Countryfile calendar competition, it wants some pictures e-mailed over for its marketing director to look at (along with the costings) in order to come up with a shortlist. Pitch consultants are sometimes given a bad press but, in this instance, the amateurish (and dangerous) pitch is crying out for one, or at least for ISBA to offer some advice.
Kwik Fit's amateurish (and dangerous) pitch is crying out for a consultant, or at least for ISBA to offer some advice
While agencies clearly deserve better, I rather suspect that Kwik Fit, which has previously been decently serviced by Adam & Eve/DDB, does too.
The issue of when agencies should pitch is not a new one – in fact, it comes up with worrying and increasing regularity. Clearly, in most cases, it’s up to agencies to choose whether they have a chance or not – and it’s now looking apparent why A&E/DDB decided to walk away.
But it’s brilliant to see agencies standing firm and refusing to participate in the Kwik Fit process and with the IPA’s new business committee taking a lead on the issue. The Marketing Agencies Association should also be applauded for managing to get Beiersdorf to rethink its similarly confused below-the-line Nivea review.
After so many years laudably trying to get the value of creativity understood in the boardroom, it’s frustrating that, for so many, the message has still not got through. It may seem an extreme measure but, with agencies now refusing to play along, the old union line "united we stand, divided we fall" has never seemed truer.