Should advertising and media agencies pay to pitch their ideas to potential clients?
That is a question that has arisen after Singapore Management University (SMU) reportedly told agencies to purchase a pitch document for $100 so they could vie for a three-year contract to work with the institution.
According to Marketing Magazine, the agencies were invited to a briefing session and given information about the university. Those who expressed interest were then told to purchase the documents required for their pitch.
The industry magazine reported that this was not common practice, adding that several agencies were shocked when they heard about it.
However, an SMU spokesperson told the magazine that it was part of the university's procurement process "to cover documentation and audit of pitch for good financial governance".
"The agencies are able to ask any questions and at the same time 'size up' their competitors and assess their odds. The choice is all theirs. This fee is a standard policy by our Procurement Department that handles all tender and audit required for corporate governance," the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
While some agencies the magazine spoke to said such procedures would deter agencies from pitching, one other agency said that the admin fee requirement could become more common in the future.
An unidentified agency that the magazine said was pitching for the account defended SMU, saying that the fee could be used as a "filter" due to the scale of the tender.