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ACA responds on Belgian agencies' virtual strike

It has been widely reported that a growing number of agencies across Belgium are taking part in what is called ‘The Virtual Strike against multiple agency pitches'. Today, Thursday, 11 February 2010, the Association for Communication and Advertising in South Africa (ACA) applauded the stand taken by those agencies.
ACA responds on Belgian agencies' virtual strike
Odette Roper, CEO of the ACA
Odette Roper, CEO of the ACA
ACA CEO, Odette Roper says: “If only the costs incurred by agencies when pitching were calculated, it would be understood that having more than five agencies involved in a pitch process is excessive, expensive and a waste of resources. Unreasonably competitive and expensive pitch processes often lead to the demise of smaller agencies that make every effort to acquire new business and grow their operations, but because of the costs incurred during pitch processes, they are unable to recoup their investments.

“This is prohibitive for smaller, entrepreneurial agencies' participation in tenders and pitches considering that larger agencies often budget for the costs of new business acquisition, however smaller agencies may not have the available resources to do the same. If the playing field is to be levelled and smaller agencies are encouraged to compete with the major players, we encourage marketers to limit the number of agencies invited to pitch and to consider including an emerging or entrepreneurial agency on the pitch list.”

Call to follow the code

In South Africa, the ACA together with government through GCIS, the departments of Trade and Industry and Treasury, put in place a detailed process to be followed when procuring services from our profession. This process is documented, serves as a Code of Conduct to govern tenders and pitches in an effort to prevent and protect agencies from unscrupulous, unfair, expensive and unreasonably competitive pitch processes.

“The ACA is often called upon to mediate and represent its members during pitches processes that are not compliant with our industry's Code. In recent months, there were instances in South Africa, when agencies took a stand against those who continue to disregard the industry's code of conduct - this, despite the difficult economic climate,” Roper said.

More often than not, the collective cost incurred by agencies during tenders and pitches runs into hundreds of thousands of Rands and marketers are exposed to a wealth of intellectual property, concepts, strategies and creative work for which agencies are unrewarded.

Roper says that it's imperative for the future success of our profession that we act more decisively and abide by our code of conduct during tenders and pitches. By being more vigilant, we will gain respect and ultimately remuneration for our contribution to business success.

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