Adland open for business as agencies continue to pitch during pandemic

Management consultancy ID Comms has deemed the advertising industry “open for business” after a survey found that 57% of agency leaders maintain they are confident in responding to most pitch briefs, regardless of working from home amid Covid-19.

The study, which was conducted last month, comprises the views of 81 chief executives and new-business leaders, all of whom work at major agencies representing more than 80% of global adspend.

Of the participants, 69% claimed to have experienced delayed, postponed or cancelled pitches as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, while a further 16% believed the traditional agency pitch process needs to be rethought in light of the current climate.

As a result of these findings, ID Comms has unveiled guidelines for advertisers preparing for pitches in the year ahead and advised agencies to pause pitching for two weeks in order to “suit the new remote working environment”.

“Agencies are generally positive about their ability and readiness to manage new-business briefs during Covid-19,” ID Comms said. “We think pitches need to be considered carefully – agencies will want to compete, but pitch conditions must not exploit any agency vulnerabilities or be unfair to the limitations of remote working.”

When asked by ID Comms to offer advice on how to effectively run pitches during this time, participants suggested tolerance and transparency so that the industry can focus on the content of pitches, thereby “removing pitch theatre” from the process. Respondents also advised that video calls feature “no more than five people – three from agency and two to three from client side”, in an attempt to fuel interaction and feedback in meetings.