Nothing sets an agency’s adrenalin flowing like a pitch. The shared
experience of the hectic behind-the-scenes preparation. The elation if
the show proves a winner.
Sure, there are many other sensible and efficient ways for clients to
assign their accounts. Of course, the process can be a huge and
expensive gamble. But the agency world would be a far duller place were
pitches consigned to history.
Nevertheless, the Results Business Consultancy is right to warn agencies
to keep pitches in perspective and not to rush headlong after new
accounts while paying insufficient attention to those they already
Although the survey (Campaign, last week) is based on the responses of
just 45 clients, the message is clear. Too many agency marriages hit the
rocks because the courtships have been too swift and are not taken
seriously enough. As a result, neither partner knows enough about the
other and recriminations begin.
In 1995 the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising vowed to help improve matters
with a pitching charter. No more pitches that were only ’virility
displays’ by newly appointed marketing directors, no more than three
agencies on a pitch-list and clients to contribute towards pitch costs
were its main points.
Almost four years on, ’rogue’ pitches are still a fact of life and
agencies will still drop clients to take on larger ones in the same
category. Both sides have an interest in stopping this destructive
process. This latest survey suggests there is a long way to go.