PRCA acts to quash theft of pitch ideas

The PRCA is forming a working group in an attempt to clamp down on agency ideas being stolen from pitches.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham set up the group this week after discovering the vast majority of agency bosses had been affected.

Research by the PRCA reveals almost 90 per cent of agency heads believe ideas they pitched have subsequently been used by the client without the agency receiving any compensation.

The new group will be led by Kinross+Render chief executive Sara Render and Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson.

The move comes two weeks after PRWeek revealed widespread concerns about companies demanding or assuming copyright over agencies' intellectual property (PRWeek, 20 March).

Both Render and Hopkinson voiced their concerns in the article, with Render saying: 'The PRCA will be letting all its members down if it does not address the issue.'

New PRCA PR Leaders' Panel research reveals 53 per cent of agencies have experienced this issue in fewer than five per cent of pitches and 35 per cent have experienced it more frequently. Only 12 per cent said they had not had ideas stolen at all.

Ingham said the figures showed the current situation was 'unacceptable'.

Render said: 'We need to look at a range of related issues, including understanding the value attached to the intellectual and creative aspects of PR. Also, what are the real costs to both agencies and clients when expecting detailed creative and strategic thinking ahead of an appointment, and what does and does not make an idea unique?'

Hopkinson said he would be looking into creating commercial frameworks to make it easier for clients to attribute a value to a concept.

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