The ICA’s Pitch Watch is calling on Canadian agencies to boycott tobacco giant JTI’s current agency review process, citing the onerous speculative work requirements as unfair to the brand, shareholders and the agency sector. Several agencies reported their concerns about JTI’s RFP process to Pitch Watch, the ICA’s service aimed at ensuring best practice and equity standards in agency selection. The ICA has discussed the issues with Canadian marketing and procurement leadership at JTI, who have indicated that they intend to continue with their process unaltered despite these concerns.
Sadly, JTI admitted that they request a huge amount of work from agencies via RFPs like this was a good thing. That agency people enjoyed spending long hours, evenings and weekends working on new business pitches, which is not good for our people when you consider job insecurity and mental health issues, compounded by COVID-19,
said Scott Knox, ICA President & CEO.
The ICA understands that JTI are asking for 2 or 3, 360-degree, integrated ideas from all participants, on top of measurement and competitive analysis as part of their submissions.
We know that very few ideas, created like this, in a vacuum, separate from the client, ever see light of day, for all the obvious reasons,” continues Scott Knox, “this is wasted time and money. Resources spent by agencies in creating and wasted by clients in reviewing.
Ultimately, spec work does not deliver for clients, their customers or their shareholders. The best way to select an agency is on the basis of work they’ve delivered and how their processes can replicate success: a practice called Qualification Based Selection (QBS), used for decades in fields such as architecture and engineering, other consultancy-based sectors.
The ICA has delivered it’s fully workable QBS toolkit, already used for many Canadian and US agency reviews, to the JTI team.
President & CEO
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