“Pitching has got more competitive, increasing pressure on agencies”

Dan Leach, Managing Director of TBWA\RAAD KSA, weighs in on the thorny debate

Campaign Middle East continues to speak to industry leaders across agencies and brands about the pitching process.

Some have called it broken, others feel a few tweaks are needed. Smaller agencies have been far more vocal about pitching so far, so Campaign has been reaching out to the bigger agencies and networks.

Yesterday we spoke to Samantha Stuart Palmer, Chief Growth Officer at FP7McCann for her views on the topic.

She said: “Most solutions I hear discussed revolve around how brands need to change, rules they need to follow, or pitch budgets they should provide.  I believe change needs to start with the agencies.”

Today, we speak with Dan Leach, Managing Director of TBWA\RAAD KSA.

What’s your view on the current pitching process?

The current pitching process has both its advantages and challenges. On the positive side, it fosters healthy competition within the industry, ensuring that agencies continuously strive for excellence.

Internally, pitches serve as a unifying way of inspiring enthusiasm and fostering energy within the agency.  However, it is important to acknowledge that excessive pitching can be detrimental.

We are seeing more and more RFPs that demand a huge amount of creative work to be considered. This, coupled with shortening deadlines, can strain resources and put pressure on an agency and its people.

To maintain a healthy balance, agencies must carefully select the pitches they pursue, ensuring alignment with their vision and values, whilst weighing up the commercial and creative opportunity.

Experience plays a key role in determining the optimal number of pitches an agency can handle without overextending its resources. This often results in rejecting more pitches than accepting.

Do you feel things have changed/improved?

There have been significant changes in the pitching landscape. Procurement processes have resulted in a rise in pitch opportunities opening up more opportunities to agencies. The pitching process has become much more competitive with brands having a broader array of agencies to choose from.

This shift has driven improvements in the quality and creativity of pitches, but it has also increased the pressure on agencies.

Would a code of conduct for brands be a good idea?

A code of conduct is not necessarily needed. Instead, I would prefer a healthy, two-way collaborative conversation between agencies and brands that can help both parties improve the process, quality of work, and outcomes.

*We will be publishing an in-depth Industry Forum feature on ‘The Pitching Problem’ in the June issue of Campaign Middle East