IPA and ISBA announce plans to transform industry pitching process

The Pitch Positive Pledge will be launched to the industry during Mental Health Awareness week in May 2022.

The IPA and ISBA have announced a cross-industry plan to improve the pitching process to make it more intentional, accountable, and effective for both advertisers and agencies. Spearheaded by IPA President Julian Douglas, and ISBA’s Andrew Lowdon, the initiative forms a core part of Douglas’ 10x agenda in 2022.

The Pitch Positive Pledge plan will bring together the IPA, ISBA their members, and intermediaries and was discussed at the cross-industry RENEW conference.

According to IPA President Julian Douglas, previous pitch guides have focused on the ‘how to’ of pitching without due consideration to the human and environmental costs. This initiative, he explains, seeks to address this by also focusing on the ‘why and when’ of pitching. By committing to the cross-industry Pitch Positive Pledge, the IPA and ISBA believe agencies, advertisers and their staff will experience better outcomes including better mental health, less wastage, fewer costs and better, more effective work.

The IPA and ISBA will be running a series of workshops with their members, partners, and intermediaries to work through the full details and commitments of the Pitch Positive Pledge. which will be launched to the industry during Mental Health Awareness week in May 2022.

Says Andrew Lowdon, Director of Agency Services, ISBA: "There are a lot of pitches taking place and it’s likely a significant number ultimately may be unnecessary. And even amongst those that are necessary, the existing approach often generates a lot of unnecessary work taking place. This represents wastage that we should look to reduce. In recent times, pitches have become more frequent, more complex, and more costly. More costly to both agency and advertiser, and more costly for the individuals and the environment. Pitching has become the default option, often for smaller projects that previously would not have required a pitch."

Says IPA President and Vice Chairman & International CEO, VCCP, Julian Douglas: "Today, many companies have ESG commitments including wastage reduction and promoting diversity and wellbeing in their supply chain. The pitch process as it stands represents a challenge to these commitments. Due to its competitive nature there is inherent wastage in the process. Largely unfunded, it demands significant investment in time and money for agencies and clients alike. With the added complications of working remotely since Covid-19, and the associated changes this brings, we are seeing an increase in burnout and mental health challenges and a talent exodus from advertising."

Pitching can be brilliant, but the current system is broken. The need for change is real and the time to act is now.

The RENEW 2022 panel about the Pitch Positive Pledge will be available to view on the Advertising Association’s YouTube channel from w/c 31 January, with full details of the Pitch Positive Pledge to be revealed in May.

Last updated 27 January 2022