Calls for binding agreements between agencies and clients to
prevent time-wasting pitches have been made after this week's decision
by Ellesse, the sportswear brand, to abandon a three-month agency search
and keep its advertising in-house.
Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, one of the disappointed contenders for
the pounds 15 million pan-European creative account, is urging the IPA
and ISBA to agree on better protection for agencies.
This could take the form of a contract under which clients putting
business up for pitch would compensate agencies if they failed to
Ellesse has offered pounds 5,000 to MCBD and Doner Cardwell Hawkins
toward pitch costs, but each shop says it spent more than pounds 20,000
on the contest.
Miles Calcraft's managing director, Helen Calcraft, said: 'As a small
agency, this has cost us dear.' She also claimed the agency would not
have pitched had it known it was competing against Ellesse's in-house
Paul Cardwell, Doner Cardwell's creative director, declared himself
'disappointed rather than angry' about Ellesse's decision.
The agency finalists were telephoned on Tuesday evening by Elena
Mathiou-Rose, the Ellesse vice-president of international marketing, to
be told the news.
It ended a process begun in February when the company, part of the
Pentland Group, briefed agencies to give the brand a clear identity and
voice in a market dominated by giant rivals such as Nike and Adidas.
Mathiou-Rose was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to press, but
sources close to the company said Ellesse did make clear that it would
not appointment an agency if it felt the work presented was no better
than what it already had.
One source close to the pitch said: 'Agencies have found the brief
difficult to crack - and none did.'