The word ‘pitch’ usually evokes mixed feelings for people working in marketing. An agency competition organised by advertisers could be a big opportunity on the one hand, but may be a threat on the other.


For a pitch, agencies normally pull out the big guns. The art director will most definitely pull an all-nighter, designers will try and squeeze out all of their creative juices. Copy writers will write, delete, write and delete. And they won’t stop until they have come up with a catchy name or pay-off to impress the potential client.

The effect of a pitch

A pitch puts a considerable amount of pressure on the agency. Obviously, this shouldn’t be at the expense of existing clients. At least, for ZUID Creatives it shouldn’t. That should also be clear to the pitching company. Once they have become a client, it will be important to them that the high level of performance was not just a one-off, but will be achieved repeatedly. Even when the agency takes part in another pitch.

ZUID Creatives and pitches: YES PLEASE!

Don’t get us wrong. We love to take part in pitches and are open to challenges! However, we value our existing clients just as much as the companies that invite us for a competition. Therefore, we have set up some clear terms and conditions to communicate our rules regarding taking part in a pitch. These are based on a pitch guide, set up in cooperation with the VEA and the BVA:

Be aware of the efforts an agency must make to win a pitch. Therefore, only organise a pitch when your plans are set in stone.

  • Collect and hand out relevant background information, explanation and clarification.
  • Outline your favourite, existing communication.
  • Define the desired output and create a short, but thorough briefing (in writing) based on this, identical for all partaking agencies.
  • It should be clear from the briefing if only strategic proposals are expected or also creative ones.
  • Preferably, don’t invite more than 3 agencies for the pitch (more than this will cost a needless amount of time of both the agencies and yourself), be open about the number of participating agencies.
  • Make sure to have a clear procedure and time schedule and keep to it.
  • Define the criteria on which the agencies will be judged and communicate these clearly.
  • Be clear about the size of the concluding assignment and the nature of the desired cooperation, as well as the services you expect to be making use of.
  • Outline the reward that participants can look forward to.
  • When no compensation can be rewarded, keep the inquiry limited for the agencies.
  • Be clear from the beginning about how you will deal with the proposals presented by the agencies in the pitch, concerning the potential rights of intellectual ownership.
  • Make sure to leave enough time in between the briefing and the presentation, to allow for ideas to develop (six weeks is common for an entirely creative pitch).
  • The ‘click effect’ shouldn’t be underestimated, so introduce your employees to the agency’s employees, as they may be working together in the future.
  • Involve all decision makers in the pitch and make sure there is always an experienced person there, as a point of contact for the agency.
  • Check to make sure that the business end of the deal is confirmed, before announcing a ‘winner’.
  • Be sure to openly inform both winners and losers about the decision, in agreement with a predefined procedure.

Do you believe these terms to be reasonable and are you planning to launch a pitch? Please contact our Strategy Director Mathieu Hermans, on telephone number: +31 (0) 13-5450323.