Home News IAPI Launches New Pitch Charter with Support from Leading Brands

IAPI Launches New Pitch Charter with Support from Leading Brands

IAPI Members Urged to Take a Leadership Role During Covid-19 Crisis
Charley Stoney, CEO, IAPI

IAPI has launched “guiding principles” for both marketers and agencies, focusing on preparation and behaviours when it comes to selecting a creative agency partner. Called “The Charter for Creative Agency Selection”, it is the culmination of several months of work by IAPI and a working group made up of agencies, pitch consultants and marketers.

The need for some guiding principles became apparent after the positive feedback from both marketers and IAPI members to an article on Adworld.ie last year called “The untenable facts about pitching”.   

“While IAPI, supported by the AAI and the MII, have already published Pitch Guidelines that deal with the detailed process of how a pitch should be run, this Charter is significantly different”, says Charley Stoney, CEO, IAPI. “It raises questions that helps all parties rethink their approach to pitches and indeed, asks clients to consider whether a pitch is necessary in the first place.”

The Charter is being supported by the Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) and The Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII) and by several leading brands, with more expected to follow suit.  The brands that are currently supporting the charter include  Aer Lingus, AIG, Allianz, An Post, Bord Gais Energy, Bord na Mona, C&C Group, DAA, Davy, Diageo, eir, Energia, Failte Ireland, Flahavan’s, Heineken, Iarnrod Eireann, Irish Ferries, Laya Healthcare, Musgrave Group, Nissan, Safefood, RSA and Vodafone.

In addition, pitch consultants Agency Assessments, Emprica, PT78 and Open Communications were involved in creating the Charter alongside IAPI members and senior marketers.

Speaking about his involvement in shaping the Charter Shane Lynch, SuperValu, head of marketing, Musgrave Group says: “The IAPI Charter for Agency Selection is a highly considered set of guiding principles that will lead to a more effective and equitable agency selection process. There are material benefits across both clients and agency which will ultimately assure a stronger process and outcome for all parties.”

“We are now doing business in a world which is far removed from when the creative pitch first became common practice”, adds Charley Stoney. “As we all strive to create sustainable workplaces, we need to recognise that it means doing business differently across all areas of the organisation and joining the dots between people, planet, and profit.”

The financial burden on agencies of taking part in prolonged pitch procedures has been highly publicised by the industry for some years.  The latest IAPI Industry Census estimates that the average creative pitch costs agencies nearly €60,000 in staff time and third-party costs. For clients, the IAPI 2023 Pitch Survey indicated that a pitch process costs marketing departments an average of €9,000 in staff time.

To maintain a financially viable and sustainable advertising industry in Ireland, IAPI has argued that it is imperative that the global networks see value in having a presence in the Irish market and that independent, Irish owned agencies maintain their strong presence here.  “This means maintaining a profitable industry that is flourishing, as the alternative would result in considerable additional cost of using international agencies and a further brain drain from the Irish market of highly talented individuals,” IAPI notes.

Geraldine Jones, another member of the working group and an IAPI board director, stresses the financial implications for all stakeholders.

“Agencies need to protect their margins and the wellbeing of their teams to have sustainable businesses, and a sustainable industry,” she says.

“A high level of professionalism and consideration for the workload placed on agencies is already in place for some pitches.  This Charter encourages those high standards in the pitch process across the board, to everyone’s benefit.”

The impact of a prolonged and intensive creative pitch process on agencies is not just financial, IAPI says.  Indeed, the February 2024 IAPI Sentiment Survey shows that 25% of the total workforce and 40% of senior management are always stressed at work, with over half of senior management citing pitching as a considerable contributor of this stress.

Kevin Kent, head of marketing, Laya Healthcare, who also sat on the working group, stresses the need for fairness and respect across all business practices.

“Two of our laya healthcare values are to be fair and caring,” he says. “ It is how we treat each other, our members and our partners. IAPI’s principles reflect our values and will ensure there will be a sustainable advertising and marketing industry in Ireland built n respect and valuing the great work created here,” he adds.

“From a people perspective, social sustainability highlights the critical need to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone within our sphere of influence and now, more than ever, we have a duty to rethink the pitch”, adds Stoney. “While this Charter deals exclusively with Creative Agency Selection, we are also working on the release of similar guiding principles for Media Agency Selection to be published over the Summer.”

A copy of the new Charter for Creative Agency Selection can be downloaded here and is also available in the Pitching section of the IAPI website.


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