Our creativity should not be given away for nothing

An old chestnut I know, but we have just missed the second opportunity this year with our no fee/ no concept approach.

At the beginning of this year we were approached by BT to present concepts for its retail offer – a one-page brief with little or no valuable information, and, importantly, no fee. We suggested a strategic review as a means of understanding the brief and our approach.

They stated categorically that the pitch was creative and we were lined up against five others who were comfortable with that. We refused, others proceeded and by all accounts the process was a frustrating and disappointing experience for all concerned.

This lost opportunity is not a great concern to our business, I would be more concerned had we pitched and lost.

A similar position arose this autumn with a brief from an established high street fashion store. Again we stood our ground and the client went to five others, all keen to take the risk.

We are donating our most valuable commodity here; our creativity. Without it we are planners and managers. Let’s treat it a bit more preciously and educate design buyers to respect its value.

I applaud the Design Business Association stance on this issue, but it is precisely its members who are filling the shortlists of free-pitchers.

If there is an argument that free-pitching is part of a broader marketing strategy by these business, let them make their case and stand up to be counted.

The danger is that if they do come out, they will suddenly be very busy pitching for a raft of new business. Perhaps it serves them right.

David Dalziel

Creative director

Dalziel & Pow

London EC1

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