Agency Brief: How to make the media pitch less of a ... bummer

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I hear it all the time: Media pitches these days, many believe, are the opposite of fun. Actually, I hear a lot of colorful language when it comes to this process, but I'll spare your delicate eyeballs.

ID Comms and the 4A's took a look at the process in the U.S. and did some qualitative and quantitative research with media agency leaders to find the pain points of media pitches in a bid to make them better. ID Comms is a media consulting company that runs agency pitches, media audits and offers cost tracking, digital media consulting and other services. It recently opened up shop in New York.

The research, released this week, indicates that U.S. advertisers aren't getting the best responses from potential media agency partners for a litany of reasons, ranging from lack of transparency about the selection process to not specifically defining what they are looking for. The most important factor media agency executives consider in prioritizing pitches and determining how much time and money they invest is the clarity on an advertiser's pitch process, from evaluation criteria to the ultimate decisionmakers, the report says.

"It's a tough time for agencies," ID Comms North America CEO Tom Denford says. He said though the company doesn't work for agencies, it wanted to determine the difficulties of the pitch from the agency perspective.

Some of the grievances, like a brief not being clear about whether a marketer is seeking one agency or splitting the scope among multiple agencies, "just drives people crazy. We can make that much simpler as an industry," Denford says. "If you make a better pitch process, you just get better results" from an agency, which is in the interest of advertisers, he says.

Some suggested places to start: Asking advertisers to be mindful of the resources required for agencies when they go beyond a basic meet-and-greet session; offering more realistic timelines; reviewing agency work in the lead-up to final presentations and making sure only agencies with a realistic chance of winning are investing resources in detailed contract negotiations.

And on another note

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Ad Age After Hours around the country this week. I personally got a few hours of delightful Austin weather and got to see some new faces — though my favorite moment of the night had to have been when a woman was talking about her longtime dream of working at a certain Austin agency -- while not realizing she was talking to its CEO.

Read on for a bit more of this week's agency news, and I'll see you next week.

Doing his own thing

The former creative director of Sean "Diddy" Combs' agency Blue Flame has formed his own shop. Rana Reeves announced this week the founding of RanaVerse, a 12-person agency with offices in London and New York.

"RanaVerse is about having an actual point of view – something I feel is getting lost, which is why I put my name on it," Reeves said in a statement. Already, the company has clients including Equinox and its forthcoming Equinox Hotels brand. Ranaverse has also done work for Adidas in London.

Quad/Graphics buys Periscope

Wisconsin-based marketing solutions company Quad/Graphics has bought Minneapolis-based Periscope for $132.5 million. The deal is expected to close in early 2019. Periscope, founded by Bill Simpson in 1994, building off of the Simpson family's typesetting and production company, still has strong chops in packaging design and pre-media services —which is one of the reasons Quad offered for snatching it up.

On the move…

Sean Healy has joined Carat as its global chief strategy officer, coming from Zenith, where he was global head of products and strategy. Angela Steele remains the Dentsu Aegis Network media agency's U.S. chief strategy officer.

Patrick Bevilacqua, formerly a senior VP of programmatic and data strategy, has joined indie buy-side advertising platform Sizmek as its head of global customer success.

Cadreon — the adtech specialist unit within IPG Mediabrands — has named Sean Muzzy as president of North America, a new role. Muzzy was formerly chief product and platform officer for Neo Worldwide.

Brian Platt, a group creative director at Grey in New York, has joined MDC Partners' creative shop Mono as creative director.

DDB New York has appointed Lance Parrish, a former Grey Group Creative Director, as executive creative director. The shop also brought on Katie Jensen and Ani Munoz as group creative directors.

Chuck Maguy has been promoted from president to CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi West and Toyota Motor North America client lead, while Julie Michael will be promoted from president to CEO of Team One.

Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli

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