Brilliant Deviant

Big Hitters Win The Pitch Then Vanish

Agency Scams

Welcome to the second edition of “Agency Scams”. We’ll never mention any names but feel it’s right that clients are aware of the less than ethical practices that go on sometimes.

This scam happens in the pitch process, usually by larger agencies trying to win over big brands. The heavyweights are above pitching to smaller clients. The experienced heavyweights or veterans of a large agency show up, dressed to the nines to the pitch and speak with great authority. Some lower ranked and often much younger members may appear at the pitch, and may even have a small speaking role. The client is treated to a very expensive lunch, often accompanied by a fair amount of alcohol. The fake rapport building kicks in about now. While not explicitly stated, it is very much positioned that the impressive people that pitched to the client – would be involved in a significant way.

When the agency officially wins the client to their roster, Team Heavyweight seem to vanish one by one (likely at other pitches) and the younger Team B are given ‘their time to shine’. Team B may actually be very good, but this isn’t what the client bought into. Even worse, Team B may be diluted with staff who are less experienced (and cheaper). This is unfair to the younger and less experienced employees as massive pressure is put on them to perform. It’s unfair to the client because they bought into a team that is now made up of people they’ve never even met. Worst of all, they are locked into a contract – sometimes for years. The work won’t be of the quality pitched, mistakes will be made, and only when crisis time hits, do the heavyweights reappear to save the day. “We’ve been monitoring the campaign throughout” they would say. I’ll let you on into a little secret, in this theoretical situation, they were definitely fucking lying.

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