Ground rules intended to curb client exploitation of agencies during
pitches were unveiled this Thursday at a joint conference of the
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Incorporated Society
of British Advertisers.
As predicted (Campaign, 27 October), the IPA, run by Nick Phillips, and
ISBA, headed by John Hooper, are taking joint action to cut out
unnecessary pitches and limit the number of agencies taking part in
them. For example, the pitching charter calls on shortlists to be
limited to three agencies and for clients to make a contribution to
At the same time, clients are being urged to think long and hard rather
than rushing into a pitch and to ask themselves if they need a full-
scale creative contest when strategic proposals might be sufficient.
The proposals put the onus on clients to be clear about what they want
from a pitch and warn them that they will have difficulty keeping their
agency search a secret once they start taking soundings.
The guidelines call for shortlists never to exceed three agencies,
although this could be increased to four if the incumbent repitches.
Reviews should also follow a firm timetable, with a minimum of four
weeks allowed for agencies to produce a full creative presentation.
Clients should make a payment for this work. The money should not
necessarily cover all the agency pitch costs but should indicate that
the client is serious.
Advertisers should ensure that agency pitch teams include people who
will actually work on their business, and clients and agencies should be
clear about which material is subject to copyright and should agree
contracts and remuneration before an appointment is finalised.
The charter suggests advertisers should not take more than a week after
seeing all the pitches and should immediately issue a press release
announcing their decision.