Saatchi, BBDO and other agencies go on virtual strike

Belgian ad agencies have launched a week long campaign to change the rules governing the process of bidding for new business.

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Belgian ad agencies have launched a week long campaign to change the rules governing the process of bidding for new business.

The agencies, including global names like BBDO, McCann Lowe, Saatchi and Ogilvy, have closed their websites to normal traffic, and instead point visitors to an open letter criticising the current practice in bidding for advertising contracts.

The letter complains that companies have deviated from the process set up in the 1980's by advertising trade body UBA and the Association of Communication Companies (ACC). These rules state that no more than four agencies, including the current contract holder, should be allowed to pitch for any new business.

However, the letter states, this has standard has been eroded in recent years, leading to a more competitive bidding process with as many as ten agencies involved. The companies complain that this consumes time and money for the losing bidders, diverting resources away from providing services for their existing clients.

The agencies claim that a return to the original priciples in the charter would result in better advertising for both existing and new clients. The charter can be read on the ACC website.

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