They say that 80% of Advertising-related RFP’s (Request For Proposal) are fixed. In other words, the folks at the organization already know which agency they are going with. And often they are staying with their current agency and are just conducting the RFP to satisfy some corporate rule.
This pisses me off because folks on the agency side work very hard to create and pitch the new ideas to this potential client and it’s often all for not. Or worse, the client collects all the new ideas and decides to use a few of them over time—without paying for them.
We’ve had this experience, and have even gone back to the table—with the same client—only to be lead around the block and told “thanks, but we’re going to keep this initiative in house.” I won’t name names. This town is too small. I’ve started a list.
There are some agencies that refuse to work on spec creative and RFP’s. They just flat out refuse. We take each one on a case-by-case basis and try to find out why they are looking and what our chances are. The work is fun because it is something new and our whole company gets into the initiative. There’s an excitement level that comes with competing and we always enjoy the rush! Plus, it’s new creative. We get to play on a new field. And of course we want to win so we do crazy things to get their attention. It’s not the additional work that bugs me. It’s the stealing that goes on. And when I speak with my friends in our business, I often hear horror stories about certain companies that go into the RFP just to steal. Shame on them. All we have to sell is our time and talent. And we prefer to work with honest and upstanding companies that have a mutual respect for us, as a business, and our need to make money too.
Got an RFP? Let me check my list. Here’s an idea: Maybe we should start a community list on the Louisville Ad Club’s website. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if some of these swindlers were black balled from local agencies and nobody responded to their RFP.
San Francisco-based Goodby, Berlin, & Silverstein (now the 500+ employee-strong Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) launched their agency in 1983, running an ad with the headline: