Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Uniquely Singapore - is it tender enough?

Dear Editor,

I felt that I should write about the uniquely Singaporean practice of issuing tenders that add little to the credibility of the marketing industry in this haven of transparency.

Over coffee last week an advertising agency owner recounted the woeful tale of 3 rounds of creative pitches and tacit approval of their ideas, only to be told after several months of working on 'concepts' that the company had decided to tackle their design issues in-house. My own PR agency had a dedicated team of 8 people working at speed on a pitch getting through 3 rounds to the final. After 4 weeks without word I withdrew our bid. The next day we received a letter to inform us that we had not been selected. The following day we read in your newsletter that the encumbent agency had been re-appointed, with a view to a two year contract; hardly the decision to take hurriedly.

The lack of courtesy given by companies to agency people who spend countless hours giving free ideas and well documented presentations is in itself to be disappointed by. In the case of our recent pitch, it was even more disappointing to hear from a person familiar with senior people inside the government agency that there had been an understanding all along that the incumbent agency would be retained. The objective, I presume, was to see how high the incumbent would jump and how low they would reduce their fees. I would happily have shelled out the cash for 2 mocha frappacino's at Starbucks for the two parties instead of the costly charade of a uniquely Singapore pitch. For those marketing managers sending out RFP's - do agencies a favour and call Greg Paull of R3 on +65 6827 4448

Yours sincerely,

Mr Integrated out of Sorts aka Jim James

(EASTWEST Public Relations, Beijing)

Note from the editor: In Marketing's November print edition, look out for an opinion piece by director of Versa Creations, Vivienne Quek, on her thoughts on free pitches.

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