A trio of top PR agencies have been offered 'cash for ideas' after being eliminated from a high-profile pitch process.
Confused.com this week concluded a six-way pitch for consumer PR support, by appointing Cake.
But the price comparison website then surprised some of the losing agencies by also offering to pay for their creative.
Agencies taking part in the pitch included Borkowski, Hill & Knowlton and The Red Consultancy.
Confused.com PR manager Kelly Davies said rather than being passed over to Cake, the ideas would be used by the in-house team, which will continue to focus on the personal finance pages.
Davies revealed that one of the agencies approached declined to sell its ideas. She said she was 'working out the details' about how much the other two agencies would be paid.
Trade body the PRCA, which has formed a working group to protect agencies' intellectual property, welcomed the unusual move.
PRCA communications director Richard Ellis said: 'When an idea is inspirational, it has a value beyond the time spent on it.'
Davies said Cake's brief was to 'take Confused.com off the money pages and on to the consumer pages'.
She added that broadcast media and consumer magazines would also be targeted. Cake associate board director Michele Newberry said: 'We're looking to develop an overall strategy across PR, experiential and digital outreach.'
PRWeek previously reported that Confused.com's pitch process was initiated via Twitter, in what was dubbed the first-ever PR 'twitch' (PRWeek, 22 May). Ironically, Cake did not join the pitch list via Twitter - Davies contacted the agency separately.
Confused.com previously used finance agency Polhill Communications. Cake has been appointed for an initial one-year contract.
HOW I SEE IT
'We welcome the fact that Confused.com recognises ideas have value. We hope the industry continues to acknowledge that a lot of effort goes into a creative idea' - Richard Ellis, comms director, PRCA
'I think it's great that Confused.com is offering to pay for these ideas. It shows that clients are starting to see that ideas have value' - Gerry Hopkinson, co-founder, Unity.