PRWeek TV: Pitch horror stories 'far worse in the PR sector'

The number of pitch horror stories is far higher in the PR sector than other areas of marcoms, according to the boss of a marketing intermediary firm.

In the studio with PRWeek TV, Stuart Pocock, managing partner of The Observatory, said: ‘We hear lots of real horror stories about PR pitches. It’s far worse in the PR sector than it is in the above-the-line creative sector.’

He referenced PR pitch processes that last more than three months, with a vast number of agencies involved and clients who do not meet the agencies they are inviting to participate.

‘It is exhausting on the agencies and costing them a lot of money,’ said Pocock.

Last week, PRWeek broke the news that video games firm Sports Interactive was holding a ten-way pitch for a six-month brief to promote its Football Manager title.

In recent years procurement-led pitch processes focusing on cost, including online reverse auctions, have become more commonplace and numerous pitches have taken place without any agency taking on the business.

Beige MD Larry Franks called on agencies to ‘take charge of their own business’ and think more critically about new business leads.

‘You’ve got to do due diligence, research and find out if that pitch is for you,’ he said.

‘Ten agencies going for a pitch – there is nobody that’s going to win from that. The client is not going to win because it is not going to get the right results and for agencies the odds are stacked too high. It’s a ridiculous situation.'

Franks added that convoluted pitch processes were not doing any favours for the clients themselves: 'Clients have to do their own homework as well,' he said. 'Clients have to take the responsibility to find the best agency to deliver the best piece of work. Just by throwing the net out wide, it’s not going to happen.'

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