Agencies once upon a time in Singapore used to charge a fee to a clients who wanted a full-blown creative pitch. It was a 4As directive in those days. Alas, some greedy agencies and clients who were only too happy to escape charges, starting offering free pitches. Soon the rule collapsed and the 4As seemed helpless to discipline its members. Today we have clients calling up half a dozen (or more) agencies asking for a creative presentation. The agencies reveal their best ideas before they are even appointed. After that they just have to trust that none of the ideas are used. Of course, they often are or resurface in a slightly alter form. Anyone who has been in the business for a few years will have had first-hand experience of this. However, not all advertisers act unethically. Indeed most will avoid using such ideas.

Now both sides can enjoy protection. A new web-based intellectual property (IP) protection solution has been launched called PitchMark. The creators of original ideas, concepts and proposals can have confidence that their IP will be protected. Clients will be able to ask for a full creative proposal without having to pay any fees upfront.

It works like this. Creators can upload and date-stamp their creative ideas, designs and even business plans before the presentation to the prospective client. A PitchMark certificate is issued each time a piece of work is uploaded. Clients who sign up for the digital platform will demonstrate their commitment not to share or use any ideas without permission and should benefit from attracting better pitches from the creative community.

Mark Laudi

“Miscommunication and grievances over the source of ideas and pitch fees in traditional RFP (request for proposal) processes have gone unaddressed for too long,” said PitchMark’s founder Mark Laudi. “PitchMark is a change driver, and the facilitator of a movement where a community of original idea generators and clients can transact in an environment of trust and respect, and certainty.”

The advertising and design industry should welcome and support this new facility. It is long overdue.