So, you think you’re smart?

Pitch Fee or Pitch Free?

Sometimes in this business, we get asked to pitch for work against other agencies. It’s what we call a competitive pitch. Malaysia’s 4A’s have asked us to strongly request a pitch fee, and as a standard, it’s RM5000. Reasons being that as an industry, we’ll be putting in effort and resources to develop marketing communications solutions, and because it’s a competitive pitch, most of the participants (agencies) in the pitch will naturally not get the business. Sure, that makes sense to the agencies. For big clients with big business, agencies can go into pitches with work that runs into the tens of thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) in terms of resources spent. So, it caps the clients propensity to invite as many agencies as they well please, just to see if anyone hits the mark. If it’s going to cost them to invite agencies, they’ll be less inclined to waste other people’s time and resources. So, yes, that makes sense to the guild and to the industry as a whole.

Now, lets not talk about the big corporations and their multimillion dollar marketing budget. I want focus on small to mid value pitches for clients with smaller marketing and communications budgets, one off jobs that could run into say, total creative budget of less than a hundred thousand ringgit. For example, property clients, or upstart brands and products. The argument against paying a pitch fee is that with a small total marketing budget, who has the money to pay RM15,000, or 15% of creative budget (for inviting 3 agencies) for what is essentially a pitch. If agencies really want my RM100K business, then the risk is theirs. Take it or leave it. Right? Wrong.

When clients don’t pay a pitch fee, they are putting themselves under more risk than just RM5000. How? I can say, from observation, not paying a pitch fee is most likely to be the attitude of clients who also have limited value for dedicated market research. i.e: Extensive research even before the product is developed. If they’re not going to pay RM5000 for a pitch fee, it will be most unlikely (in most cases, but not in all) to pay for third party research on product development. It’s one of those things that happens in typical asian business practices. They may put in hundreds of millions of dollars into production of the product itself, but very little in finding out first what kind of product to develop – what kind of product will really resonate with customers and consumers. Sure, they may ask some friends over morning coffee, or evening beers, or what they read over the internet, but is that really enough, especially when you’re going to spend millions on the product? (and I’m not exaggerating on the RM millions bit).

So, when clients don’t pay the RM5000 pitch fee, what are they losing out on really? They lose out on the additional value an agency can bring onto the table in terms of real firsthand insights. If I’m competing against two, or three other agencies, and knowing that my chances of getting the business is 25%-30%, how much should I be putting into the work? Definitely not 100%. So, if no one is giving 100% into the pitch proposal, who really loses? The client.

Because things can go wrong with the insights that you get. The one thing you shouldn’t assume is that in a FREE pitch situation, an agency will do all it can to solve your unforeseen problem for you. They won’t. They’re doing it to win your business, in the least expensive way they can. (Note: they’re already absorbing the cost of creative development). Now, if you’re information is not entirely or reliably accurate, what makes you think theirs will be more accurate?

As a client, you can limit the risk of that by making sure you’ve done your homework in terms of extensive research before you develop the product (in which case, you should be fairly confident your product will resonate with the your target market), and just passing off all those relevant information to the agencies who want the business.

It’s all good if you’re pretty sure the product will sell. But what if you’re not entirely sure? Should you really trust the pitching agencies to give you an accurate solution when they’re really relying on you to give them accurate information to base their solutions on?

So when clients who don’t pay pitch fees, are they really saving money, or are they actually putting all their investments at risk?

Holy Mother!

In 2007, Coca-Cola Australia launched their first energy drink – Mother – in attempt to tap into the growing energy drinks market. It was a huge flop. After doing some market research to find out why, they found that the reason was simple; it tasted terrible. So it was back to the labs and coming up with a brand new formula to give V and Red Bull a run for their money. Coca-Cola Australia engaged Smart Inc. to come to the rescue of their dying brand gasping for air like an asphyxiated prostitute in the midst of a snuff movie. Ah, i digress. Back to ‘Mother’.

Smart Inc came up with this:

‘Mother’ was made-over like Ugly Betty, with brand new packaging and a totally different taste. Word on the streets is: it was a success. Any guesses as to who their target market is? The absolutely ‘brilliant’ tagline should give you a clue.

Who say volunteer works not cool?

You can’t buy a ticket. You can’t win a ticket. You have to earn a ticket. That what Rockcorps all about, inspire young people to take part in volunteer work using their interest, live concerts. Founded by Stephen Greene in 2003, Rockcorps gets young people to volunteer. The deal is ‘give 4 hours, get 1 free ticket’ to exclusive rock concerts. Rockcorps has reached 30,000 people already in USA. Orange has brought it to the UK and France. Where next? Maybe somebody needs to bring this guy to Malaysia so all young Malaysians can start cleaning up the mess in this country instead of just singing 1 Malaysia songs without doing anything.

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NIKE – unveils the secret of AIR!

post taken from ZAZI’s new blog check it out!!

NIKE – unveils the secret of AIR!

Humour in an advert is always good. I always remember the funny ones. The clever ones…. well, they’re so so … Sometimes adverts are clever but while watching them you can feel the eerie presence of 10 or 20 creative types, the ones who wear unfashionable glasses and ‘statement’ type clothing… there they are sitting in a circle, holding hands and swaying back and forth around a pile of empty coffee cups and the soft neon glow of the latest imac – chanting ‘inspiration now, inspiration now….’ ; clever adverts are nice but they’re rarely memorable. Funny adverts… now they’re in a class of their own as i suspect this new Nike advert will be. It is the perfect balance of so many things…. The brand, the notion behind the logo, the sportspeople that they sponsor… it’s all there and it’s all working. Even the choice of backing track is spot on. Intelligent Advertising, but it does fall ever so slightly short of making you want to BUY a new pair of Nikes. So as PESHybrid said, if you put on your Nikes last friday and chatted up every chick in the club I guess you got Tiger Woods air.

Machunter. Do you buy it?

PCs respond to, I’m a Mac I’m a PC campaign? are you sold?

Selling high tech the emo way.

This ad was done back in the early 80’s.  I don’t know about you, but I think these guys got what this business is all about even way back then.

Try proposing something like this to a local marketing director, and the first thing he’d say is – “No, that’s negative sell, I don’t want to associate my product to something like that, we’re in the business of helping  people enjoy life with great music and clear sounds, not make people get sad with cheating and breaking up. Where’s the Hi-Fi set, where’s the disco dancing, where’s the orchestra? Where’s the bit that shows (the technology advancement) for the millions of dollars we’ve put into R&D. We’ve put a lot of money into developing that special patented feature that no one else has, so you better mention it”.

Especially if they’re marketeers above 40, and the only market they’ve worked in is Malaysia.

I like how witty the endline is.

Merry Christmas from Us To You!

Some Christmas Cheer

Sketchy Santas. captures all these yuletide failures and more. The website features perhaps the most unsettling batch of holiday pictures ever compiled. Nice:)

On lighter note…

This video made my day. E’nuff said. Watch and enjoy.

A team of misfits. Mavericks. Under-dogs. Believers. About to embark on a journey of a lifetime.

Turning this world of advertising on it’s head. Building truly solid and inspiring brands that as Malaysians we’d be proud to call our own.

Our belief rides on a small team being able to make a big difference. Working together to forefront what’s next in Malaysian brand communications. Let’s pave the way for brave communications. Let’s show corporations how they can stop one-way communication and start having a two-way conversations. Let’s talk social media. Let’s give our client’s some magic to believe in. And at the same time, as simple as it sounds, grow their business too.

But let’s do it in an environment where each of us within the working space grows. A place where good work develops from good relations with each other. A place where we’ll win the awards when it’s won on merit, and not to just to boost our egos. Subscribing to the philosophy that great work is a reflection of the client’s business, and not just the shiny hardware an agency picks up.

So. Think you’re up for the challenge? Unfortunately it’s not 9-5, cuz great dreams do require mettle, late nights, and good coffee. You don’t need to have years of experience, we’re learning too. But we do require all egos to be left at the door, and to come in as a team-player.

We’re looking for these shoes to fill:

A friendly, people oriented, go-getter account servicing person.
A witty, idea-wild, take-the-ball-and-run maverick copywriter.

If you’d like to join us on our adventure, please contact with your resume, some sample work, or even just a nice e-mail telling us about your shared belief of a similar vision.