an online conversation
about design management


We’ve just been asked to work for free!

Below is an article from the Truly Deeply blog. It is reproduced in it’s entirety to support their cause because we’ve been in the same position.

We have just been asked by the largest water company in Melbourne to free pitch for the opportunity to go on an approved supplier panel where we might get work from them. We’re not gonna do it. Apart from the fact they have been a former client and we’ve been on their last approved supplier panel for the last few years and received no commissions. We are fundamentally against Free pitching (or Creative Pitching) as are all our professional bodies (AGDA, Design Institute of Australia etc).

It’s just not a sustainable business model

There’s many reasons why pitching is bad for clients, bad for agencies and bad for brands. Normally these gambles are balanced by the promise of an account or some speculative pot of gold. This time there isn’t even that. This client, who knows us and our work, has asked us to answer a brief they have under budgeted at $20k. The brief requires both strategic and creative solutions including commissioning illustration. They have requested 12 agencies to respond! So they are looking for the design community to invest more than the companies annual budget without even the guarantee of any commissions. This is simply not sustainable.

We value our time, even if you don’t

Apart from the massive drain on the design industry of the pitch. The amount of time wasted client side on this ridiculous competition is staggering. Twelve briefings, twelve presentations to a panel of 4, travel etc there’s gotta be 200 hours of client time spent on it. How is that good management? Interesting to understand what kind of organisation could see a benefit from this kind of waste of resources. We run a pretty tight ship here at TD, we have to account for our hours, we certainly couldn’t waste our time like that and would never think of wasting a clients, partners or suppliers like that.

We work the budget hard

We work with all kinds and sizes of organisations and are very aware of the pressure on budgets, we have the same pressures on our business. But we know we can produce the best results from a consultive, inclusive process that is open and frank about budgets, targets, aspirations, everything needed to produce the best brand for everyone. For us this thinking applies both up and down the supply chain. We firmly believe it’s not the best way to create outstanding brands and any business who operates this way really needs to question their business values.

Here’s some more information on why Free Pitching is bad:

AGDA Australian Graphic Design Association

Design Institute of Australia

Win without Pitching (a must read for all creatives)

No Spec

If you’d like to talk to us about the best way to work with great creatives

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Derek Carroll Creative Director Truly Deeply

Thanks to Ching Teoh for the Flikr Image