The Week: Best of the blogs - Show me the money ... Later

If we're only rewarded for the laborious application of creativity, and not the opportunistic deployment of it, we'll surely spend too much time on one and not enough on the other.

What's needed is a trade-off between incentives so that agencies are as eager to work in one as they are in the other. Here's how it might work. You pay an agency a reduced hourly rate for time spent on the account. Enough to guarantee a small but uninteresting profit. The amount saved, plus 50 per cent, is put aside every six months. Every six months, the agency presents to a group that can include the marketing director, the chief executive or managing director, and one or two external adjudicators. They are pitching to get their profit back. The agency presents nothing but added value. And the incremental ideas it has had which would be valuable to apply, but which would make no money in execution. Each idea is given a price. If there is a difference on price, the adjudicator's decision is final. It is far from perfect, but it would encourage agencies to step out of their constrained roles. It would create a forum for discussing ideas. It would drive integration. It would reward clients with reactive or unimaginative agencies with a reduction in overheads. Rewarding value creates value; rewarding effort creates effort, and we need a system that recognises that.