Between the Lines: Getting picky over pitches

In his role as the AAR's director of advertising, Martin Jones is well-placed to keep his finger on the industry's pulse. So it's good to know that his intuition is telling him agencies are being more discriminating in what they will pitch for (page 4).

About time too. Those whose memories stretch back five years still wince at how a massively over-supplied and naive industry welcomed in any tinpot client with the word "dotcom" attached to its name, only to find out later that they were chasing fool's gold.

The dotcom fiasco was probably the most extreme manifestation of what happens when agencies take an ill-considered approach to new business.

But there are a wealth of other stories of agencies taking accounts at ludicrously low margins for fear that a rival would do it even more cheaply.

Let's hope that the AAR figures are reflective of an industry regaining not only respect for itself but the respect of those who benefit from its product.

Jones suggests the research indicates a more scientific approach to new business by agencies. Clearly this has something to do with the changing nature of the new-business director, who often played an isolated role within an agency and never shared intelligence with rivals.

That's much less true today, with new-business people more concerned about what one client bad apple can do to the whole barrel. Tyre-kickers beware!

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