Octopus Group's Sciplino calls for fightback against reverse auctions

A PR consultant has called on the industry to fight back against cost-cutting procurement procedures such as the growing trend of the reverse auction.

Pitching: Salt's Andy Salt and Octopus' Alexia Sciplino
Pitching: Salt's Andy Salt and Octopus' Alexia Sciplino
Salt chief executive Andy Salt and Octopus Group brand director Alexia Sciplino were speaking in a PRWeek podcast about the pressures being placed on agencies during pitch processes.

The discussion covered reverse auctions, the process by which some big pitches are carried out in which agencies bid against each other to offer the lowest fees.

Sciplino said of reverse auctions: ‘I think it devalues the product we’re offering, which is a real shame. At some point the industry should make a stand. Other disciplines such as advertising and marketing charge huge amounts.

‘We should be strong and not back down in terms of revenue.’

Last added: ‘It’s up to us to value the work we do. What we have to offer is our people and their abilities and skills. If we want to have the best people to do that, we need to be able to pay them properly and to do that we need to be charging properly.’

There were also complaints that agencies are not being given enough time to deliver pitches, with Sciplino stating that agencies should get a minimum of two weeks for a pitch process.

However, both Sciplino and Last felt that the involvement of procurement in pitch processes was a positive shift, although Last added: ‘if it becomes a procurement-led cost cutting exercise, then I don’t think that does anyone any favours’.

To watch the podcast, click here.

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