Free pitching is killing creativity.

2 days later and we’ve lost a client, due to our ‘Don’t ask us to free pitch anymore!’ campaign.

After submitting our tender document for re-appointment to the creative services roster for a large Welsh County Council, for which we have provided creative services for since 1996; including brochures, brand identities and advertising campaigns for some of their most prestigious assets around the city.

However, after receiving our emailer, regarding Black Sheep’s new approach to business that doesn’t include giving away creativity through free pitching. Their Marketing Services Manager called to inform us of their decision, to exclude us from their roster for the next two years, because of our new stance on not free pitching ideas.

If you compile a roster of creative agencies, then selecting one to produce the work based on a quotation alone should be adequate? Otherwise, what’s the point in having a roster?

We’re saying ‘goodbye’ to short sighted attitudes!

And hello to those that understand the power of creativity!


7 responses to “Free pitching is killing creativity.

  1. James Good Limited were also rejected for the same reason.

  2. That’s the problem in Wales, There are people who buy design services with no empathy or understanding of its true value.

  3. Well done guys. We’ve been turning down free pitches for a while now and haven’t felt any real effect. Hopefully enough of us will do business this way so clients will have to choose agencies on creative merit, past experience and cost.


  4. I work for as an inhouse designer for a large civil engineering firm, mainly producing tender documents most of our clients are public sector based. We never have to design a bridge or building before being commmissioned we provide costs and relevant experience. If they can happy to make decisions this way on projects which are worth a lot more then designing a brochure why not treat design agencies the same?

  5. This is an ongoing issue across the full spectrum of communications agencies, large and small, all over the world – from digital, PR advertising, design, experiential and events.

    Some clients have no faith or vision – they want to try before they buy. But even worse, there’s just no value put on the IP of an idea in the clients’ eyes. Therefore they might just take part of your idea and ask the winning agency to execute it without even thinking that it’s wrong.

    Interesting to see this issue being fired up in Wales with government tenders. I’ve worked for McCann and DDB in the UK and overseas, and we sometimes used to spend 5 figure sums on externals for pitch preparation and much more on head hours invested. For what? sometimes a 33% chance of winning at best and no reimbursed pitch costs. It’s just so wrong but no agency will be the first to put their foot down. Going the extra yard gives you the edge and many clients take advantage of the agencies’ competitive spirit.

    I’ve even been strongly suspicious of clients calling a competitive pitch to just see some new ideas – sometimes with no intention of changing agency.

    You have my full support. Good luck guys!

  6. No free pitching here at Twist Systems, I mean come on!

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