So, you're a major technology company and you're looking for a new advertising agency for your multi-million pound pan-European account. What do you do?
Well, you could begin by drawing up a long-list of agencies who have experience in the market, have the capability to cope with an account of this size, and have done some work you admire that has delivered the kind of success you want.
You could then take the time to meet them to see whether there is some chemistry between you, whether they are people you can work with. After this, you could bring it down to three or four who you invite to pitch for the business.
You give them a brief, allow them to ask questions and set a date in a fortnight or so for a face-to-face presentation. On the appointed day, they present and you get to ask them questions about the work and their thoughts on your market, brand and challenges.
A few days later, after some internal argument, you pick the winner and explain to the losers why they didn't make it.
Alternatively you could dispense with all that and run the whole thing through a faceless procurement system. Issue a never-ending RFP document in Excel to 15 or so agencies. Forget the whole chemistry thing, after all this is just another supplier. Don't worry about them presenting either, why would you be interested in what they think? And then get a bunch of people around Europe to score the results of the RFP and creative work. Done.
I've been involved in a number of pitches just recently (hence the pitiful lack of posts). I'll allow the company mentioned above to remain nameless but how they think they will get a partner committed to helping them exceed the objectives in a very tough market is beyond me. Their willingness to allow so many agencies (the number was not disclosed beforehand) to waste their time and money is just rude. And having seen the brief and the challenges, they're going to need all the help they can get.