Monday, May 26, 2008

Pay to Pitch?

I don't know if this is strictly a Vietnamese phenomenon or is happening in other countries but listen to the tale and then, someone, let me know.

The client here is S-Fone, a not-so-large Vietnam mobile service and the story is that they asked five or so agencies to pitch for their account and then asked the agencies to "pay" to pitch for the media. The value of the media portion of the business is 3 million US. Hot a shabby amount around here.

DDB ended up in a two-way battle for creative only against Ogilvy and emerged victorious on the creative assignment but declined to participate and pay to be included
in the media portion.

You can read the whole strange tale here on Brand Republic.

Blimps, Bullshit, Pay To Pitch?, Pay to Play, Advertising,
Shit. Is this some bizarre wave of the future or just a Vietnamese thing? Or could it be Korean? S-Fone is affiliated with SK Telecom in Korea so I wonder. But, in any case this brings me back to my blimp experience.

The client was the
blimp owner and was asking an agency to pay to write a plan and then have exclusive rights to sell advertising on the blimp and the agency was in-turn asking me to write this entire plan, uhh, for free.

Both Ogilvy and DDB walked on the pay portion of the pitch and I, of course, opted not to write any plans for free on blimps. There's a whole lotta hot air being passed around here these days. I'm glad I walked on the blimp instead of being taken for a ride.


  1. From someone who's seen it all before, this is indeed a Vietnam phenomenon -- though it's not likely limited to here.

    Further, once some visiting professionals have been suckered into paying to pitch, they'll take the best they get to seek the lowest bidder from the locals.

  2. Pretty blatant, for sure. Ludicrous, in fact.

    To my mind another aspect of this has been going on since time immemorial. One could say that agencies "pay to play" when they invest invest huge numbers of creative and production hours to pitch new business (or do projects "on spec") with no guarantee that their ideas won't be snapped up and done on the cheap by someone else.



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