MarCom Collective requests to refrain from competitive quotations

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The MarCom Collective recently made an appeal to clients on behalf of the marketing communication industry, requesting them to refrain from calling for pitches and competitive quotations with concepts and to continue to work with their existing partners until the current situation eases for all. The proposed time frame is 18 months, which commenced on 1 July 2021.

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 In the event a pitch is unavoidable, the Collective has proposed a series of steps for companies to consider:
1. Decide on an agency based on credentials submissions.
2. The proposed minimum limit that defines a project as large enough to be called for a pitch should yield a net ad spend that exceeds Rs. 10 million per annum in respect of creative production for ad agencies, a spend of Rs. 5 million per event in respect of event companies, a spend of Rs. 25 million per annum in respect of digital companies, and a spend of Rs. 100 million in respect of media independent companies.

In addition, it proposes that clients evaluate credentials of all suitable agencies but limit the final selection to three agencies/companies only for pitch submissions.

Lastly, it proposes that clients consider paying a minimum fee of Rs. 150,000 for the pitch work presented by the two unsuccessful bidders. In the case of event companies and outdoor companies, it requests clients to ask for cost proposals only.  

The Collective stated that at present, the marketing communications industry is under tremendous pressure as a result of the ongoing pandemic and many agencies have had to take drastic measures in order to survive. The added burden of a pitch and uncertainty associated with it only increases the pressure they face. This request comes because of the significant increase in pitches being called for by clients which are considered arbitrary in nature. 
Commenting on the appeal that is being made to clients, Event Management Association of Sri Lanka and MarCom Collective President Roshan Wijeyaratne said: “The marketing communications industry has been quite challenged due to the prevailing global health and financial crisis. We believe that it is important for us to join hands and use our time and talent productively and not wastefully. The marketing communications industry thrives on relationships, as such we are confident that by working together in partnership over the next 18 months, will only enable companies to recoup some of the losses that have been incurred during the past 15 months. Pitches cost money and time, which agencies, event companies, media independents, printing companies, research and outdoor advertising companies can ill afford.” 

​“As a member of the IAA (International Advertising Association), which represents clients, media, and advertising agencies, I believe the request being made is timely. It is only fitting for us to come together as members of the business community and be mindful of the current situation and lend our support in ways that we can. Engaging and remaining with our current partners we feel is reasonable, as it can only strengthen and build the working relationship when facing such a challenging time,” said MarCom Collective First Vice President and IAA – Sri Lanka Chapter President Tharaka Ranwala.

MarCom Collective Second Vice President and Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies, Sri Lanka (4As) President Sugiban Sathiayamoorthy stated: “Members of the 4As have raised heightened concern over the significant increase in arbitrary pitches being called for during this time. A huge investment in time and money are incurred by agencies for pitches and the expected business either does not yield the promised revenue, at times not awarded at all, or the business is awarded on a predetermined decision leaving a wealth of brand and category knowledge with clients who haven’t paid any money for it. This practice challenges ethical business norms even under normal circumstances but has become an increasingly alarming trend during pandemic times. If clients are compelled to call for a pitch for their business, I hope clients will respect agencies and at least pay for their efforts through the proposed pitch fee.”

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