Client asks for 350 pitch fee

Compensating agencies for unsuccessful pitches has been a thorny issue for years. But paying clients to pitch is likely to be even more controversial.

That has not stopped the Qatar-based Power Lubricants, an affiliate of the engineering conglomerate Allied Energy Resources, sending out invitations to a cluster of advertising and direct marketing shops across Belgium and Holland offering a chance to pitch for 350.

A letter to the agencies promises to courier an official application form for the launch of a range of lubricants on receipt of the money, which must be paid in the form of a bank draft and to a company in Tunisia.

Among the recipients are Bozell Amsterdam and a Belgian direct marketing agency, DVN.

“It’s ridiculous to pay just to receive an application form,” says Georges van Nevel, managing director of DVN. “We found it rather suspicious,” adds a spokesman from Bozell diplomatically.

However, Marketing Week’s attempts to contact Power Lubricants fell at the first hurdle.

Both the contact telephone and fax numbers are out of order.

And international directory en-quiries could not locate a number for MRAD, the Tunisian company to whom the payments are to be sent.

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