IPG Mediabrands Danny Bass: Media agencies give away too much for free

April 27, 2016 | Share this article

Pitches can bring out the best, and the worst, in agencies. It can be a race to the bottom with promises made on fees that are then hard to deliver on or make a profit on. It’s an oft-cited blight on the sector, but Danny Bass, CEO of IPG Mediabrands, says that if agencies invested as much in existing relationships as they do in pitching, more doors would be open to do bigger things for clients.

With so much business currently out to pitch in the market, there’s a lot of stress on agencies pitching for new business and to retain existing clients. IPG Mediabrands is no exception. And while Bass declined to talk about current active pitches, UM is pitching to win Tourism Australia’s business at the same time as holding on to Coles – its largest account.

“Pitching is incredibly stressful on a business. Even a small pitch can pull your best people off to the side for quite a while. When you start talking about the big pitches that could last for six or seven months and then you overlay international pitching as well, it’s a big job. We have got to get better at how we’re pitching and understanding why we pitch,” Bass told AdNews.

“What we’re doing here is taking a really good look at the reasons for pitching, who we put forward in the group to pitch and how our non-media agency businesses can lead some of these pitches. As RFPs get more technical and more digital, the role of our other businesses becomes really important so we’ve got to get smarter. We’ve got to make sure that we’re not duplicating up on work.”

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