Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 7 June 2019

The Australian advertising industry is seeing a growing movement to get rid of pitches, described by some as an archaic holdover from the days of Mad Men.

Mat Baxter, Initiative’s global CEO, says he has registered the domain name ditchthepitch.com and he is urging the industry to start a dialogue via the hashtag #ditchthepitch

Industry insiders told AdNews it's common to have brands dictating 100 to 120 day payment terms, and hard-to-meet performance clauses, making it difficult to gain even a waiver thin margin.

"Many of the clauses appear driven by malice. It's a shakedown," says an industry insider. "It's all about putting agencies through the wringer."

A current pitch for a big FMCG business has seen many of the bigger agencies stay away, say industry sources. "The business just doesn't make sense," one large agency told AdNews.

Writing under the hashtag #ditchthepitch, DDB Corporate Communications Manager Lindsay Bennett says agency knocked back business because the brand couldn't specify the duration, scope or payment terms.

"We decided that if they couldn't foresee a long-term partnership, we didn't want the scraps," she says in a tweet

"Another example, DDB told a client we could do their business for $5 million (a fictional figure). Procurement recommended they pay us half. We stood firm and the client went against procurement recommendation and hired us."

Other industry players are speaking out but request anonymity because they don't want a backlash from marketers.

On the global stage, the big players in the marketing world are also calling for change to the agency model.

Marc Pritchard, the CMO at Procter & Gamble’s (P&G), wants to end the complexity.

“It’s time to disrupt the archaic Mad Men model, eliminating the siloes between creatives, clients and consumers, and stripping away anything that doesn’t add to creative output,” he says.

Pritchard, speaking at the conference of the Association of National Advertisers in the US, wants an end to big fixed contracts.

In Australia, smaller industry players report fewer retainer business opportunities with project-by-project work on the rise. 

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