Stuart Smith on agencies in revolt

Agencies are in revolt over clients’ increasingly arrogant approach to the pitch process.

The rebellion has started in Belgium, where 20 agencies have suspended their websites to post a message of protest. What’s nifty is that the message forms a continuous web across the competitive divide, each agency posting a paragraph or so of the complete manifesto and giving a link to the next section. Representatives of all the big names, as well as local hot shops, are there, including Publicis, McCann, BBDO, JWT and Ogilvy.

This is the worm turning. Agencies are sick of a commoditisation process which has led to up to ten agencies vying for a single piece of business, simply because the client believes it will get a better “deal”. Short-term financial gain for clients; but long-term suicide for the industry as a whole, as agencies buckle under the pressure and creativity is squeezed out.

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