x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Code sets out perfect pitch for UAE's ad agencies

A code has been introduced for the pitching process in advertising among communications professionals following an overhaul.

Adhering to a best practice in the pitch process for advertising and marketing communications agencies is crucial for the reputation of the industry, according to the International Advertising Association (IAA).

The process of pitching by advertising and marketing communications has received an overhaul over the past month after most of the advertising agencies in the UAE and marketing communications professionals signed up to a best practice in the pitch process guideline, the first code of its kind in the region to improve the pitching process for both agencies and clients in the region.

Adherence to the code is in the best interests of both agencies and clients, argues the IAA's UAE Chapter, the largest in the world focused on promoting and developing the advertising industry in the UAE.

"This stuff isn't rocket science. It's a voluntary code of best practice - very similar to those followed in several other parts of the world," said Lance de Masi, the president of the IAA UAE Chapter.

"Unless the industry here wants to set itself up to being branded blind or hopelessly unethical, then signing on to the code is a 'no brainer'."

The pitching process in the UAE is non-standardised for new advertising accounts. The code was drawn up with the help of 169 senior industry executives to introduce guidelines for ethical pitching.

"A pitch is a considerable investment by an agency," said Kamal Dimachkie, executive regional managing director at Leo Burnett.

"Irrespective of its diverse nature, a pitch remains a pitch whether it is a public relations, creative, media, digital or an event management pitch and it goes through the same process.

"Agencies have a vested interest in approving this voluntary code … to address the irregularities of the existing process and an increasingly dysfunctional one at that."

The code is intended to reduce the risk for clients when choosing an agency. It aims to enhance transparency, optimise utilisation of both the client and agency resources and create clarity to enable both parties to make more informed decisions.

"Price isn't everything, and the capability of an agency to add value should be the number one criterion for agency selection and without ethics, there cannot be sustainability in any relationship," said Mr de Masi.