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Though payment of pitch fee to participating agencies is the norm all over the globe, quite a negligible clients and practitioners actually insist on this whenever pitches are held in this part of the globe. For instance, a whopping sum of N100million was said to have been lost in 2011 due to the refusal of some companies to honour this obligation.
Interestingly, those that spoke with Brands and Marketing, on the issue, believed that the issue of pitch fee had become a sensitive and crucial one that should be effectively addressed in order to move the industry forward.
For instance, the immediate past president of the Advertising Agencies’ Association of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr Rufai Ladipo, noted that practitioners had not comported themselves well enough to warrant the respect of their clients.
According to him, some practitioners were too desperate that they would not even bother to spell out all those details before embarking on such pitches.
While stressing the need for operators to insist on this payment; since that was the standard rule all over the globe, the former AAAN president insisted that ‘‘until operators begin to do this, clients will continue to take them for a ride.’’
However, Brands and Marketing investigation within the industry revealed that though the operators were aware of this global standards, a lot of the practitioners and agencies were still insisting on a pitch fee, even after such pitches must have been concluded for fear of being ignored when such clients have similar jobs in future.
Attributing non-compliance to the Nigerian factor, the Chief Executive Officer of Camwood Brooks, Mr Austin Udueni, believed that practitioners had not been insisting because of the fear of being sidelined in future.
‘’Meanwhile, clients, on their own part have not been paying because they just find the present arrangement of no financial commitment too convenient.,’’ he argued.
According to him, ‘In Nigeria, there are no standard rates as pitch fees,’’ adding that some companies would even make it clear to participating agencies that they would not be paid in the event they lose out in the bidding.
‘‘In that instance, the client would be right not to pay a participating agency that lost out of the pitch. But what is obvious is the fact that agencies have not been forthcoming on the issue of pitch fee,’’ he added.
Another agency chief who spoke with Brands and Marketing noted that the economic downturns and its ripple effects on the industtry would make it difficult to come up with a clear cut policy on this issue.
‘’For instance, while you are busy insisting that you would not attend a pitch because such company had in the past failed to pay you participating fee, you will see your colleagues jumping at the offer. So, who is the loser at the end of the day?’ he asked rhetorically.
He, however, stressed the need for companies to pay pitch fee to participating agencies, since huge resources were sometimes deployed by participating agencies in the course of prosecuting some pitches, adding that the only way to ‘mitigate’ such loss on the part of any participating agency that lost out was for brands to honour the global standards.
Perhaps, the intervention of the regulatory bodies in the industry, as it is being currently clamoured by stakeholders, will help in enforcing the payment of the pitch fee by brand owners. For instance, while justifying the need for clients to pay this fee, the Chief Executive Officer of the Dmessage, Mr Sola Odeja, had said that ‘’no such laws currently exist, and unfortunately no attempt at enacting it for now.’’
So the puzzle is: Why is the practice here different from what obtains in other climes? Why is it that even those brand owners that would not even bat an eyelid when it comes to payment of such fees in other countries are always ready to sing a new different tune in respect of such payments here? The position of many is that it would take a concerted effort on the part of all stakeholders to insist on such payments, so as to make the practice here in tune with what obtains around the globe.Share