I’m sure everyone in the ad industry welcomes John Hooper’s entry, as
director general of ISBA, into the debate about ‘rogue’ pitches.
(Campaign, 27 October).
Without his backing, the case presented by the agencies and creative
independents was always going to have an echo of Mandy Rice-Davies about
There’s no need here to go into the many types of dubious pitches, or
why they exist (between John Hooper and Stefano Hatfield’s column, most
were covered in the 27 October edition) but we should concern ourselves
with what their very existence says about the average relationship
between advertising people and their marketing counterparts. That is,
they’re bonded by very little trust.
Where’s the spirit of partnership?
Not so long ago, a ‘new-business pitch’ was special. An agency only got
involved in a handful each year and success seriously raised its status.
Now you can expect an emergency board meeting if someone realises you’ve
only got one on. And no-one will expect it to change things - new
business today is invariably greeted as a nice buffer against tomorrow’s
account loss. (Isn’t it odd how a large loss signals redundancies but a
huge win rarely creates the need for additional staff?)
Isn’t it time - as things seem to be picking up and the primary aim of
so many businesses is to create ‘customers for life’ - for us all to
rebuild the partnership habit? It can only be good for everyone.
Advertising will never be the same again. As a partner in a creative
independent, I don’t see that as a bad thing, but we can attempt to get
back the best bits.
My partner, Barry Smith, told me of Bill Kiely being suitably impressed
when he joined Foote Cone and Belding 30-odd years ago to find the
client list carved in marble. Had a few more agencies practised that
there wouldn’t be much of Italy left by now.
Bill Thompson, Smith and Thompson, London SW19