And now the final blog post on the ground-breaking events at the Good Pitch Week by Stefan Bradley, Research, Insight and Operations Director at The Art of New Business.


Good Pitch Week came to an end with the inside story of Novartis’s 2011 global media pitch. Giving their unique perspectives on this complex and challenging review were Sharon Spina, VP Global Purchasing at Novartis Consumer Health; Tom Denford, founding partner of ID Comms and Matt Blackborn, president of emerging markets at winning agency Starcom MediaVest Group.

Novartis is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, with 5 divisions operating in 100+ markets, more than 50 brands on their books and $60bn annual sales. There had been no media review since 2004 and across the different divisions and markets there were ongoing contracts in place with 47 different media agencies.

By 2011, with TV effectiveness deteriorating and the need to partner with a digital specialist media agency, Novartis decided to call the global review. The aim? To replace the multiple agencies on their roster with just one media agency across all divisions and markets and move from TV buying to integrated comms planning and media excellence.

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Stefan Bradley, Research, Insight and Operations Director at The Art of New Business talks about the launch of the media pitch principles.



The IPA and ISBA’s Media Pitch Best Practice Principles were launched at the fifth event of the Good Pitch Week by Cormac Loughran, CMO of Aegis Media; Paul Phillips, MD of the AAR; Richard Woodford, Global Procurement Director – Media at GSK and Debbie Morrison, Director of Consultancy at ISBA. Attendees from all spheres flocked to the breakfast event: media agencies, client side marketers and procurement specialists were all itching to be involved in this refreshing and enlightening session.

In September 2012 clients, agencies, auditors and consultants met to debate whether the model for media pitching was fit for purpose. Following a good deal of forthright discussion a number of key issues were identified ranging from mammoth to minute, immediate to long term. The immediate, micro issues were identified as quick-yet-impactful issues to rectify. The recent IPA Pitch Monitor survey showed that only 64% of media agencies were satisfied with pitches they had been involved in, so clearly there is room for improvement. The result is 6 guiding principles that provide a blueprint for mutually beneficial outcomes and hopefully will improve satisfaction ratings by 10% by June 2014.


The Guidelines:

1. Respect is a two way street

  • Senior clients should be involved in the process consistently and from the start, not just at the final meeting
  • Agencies are given adequate time to explain what they can do
  • The cost of pitching for media agencies can be significant (estimated at £21.6m in total for the last year); to help build mutual respect, clients should consider some kind of monetary recognition or payment in kind
  • No one likes to have their time wasted: agencies that are off-pace should be disregarded early on
  • Agencies should be honest about their bandwidth and drop out if they have doubts about being able to deliver
  • Clients should have a cut-off point for pitches towards the end of the year – no one wants to work over Christmas because they have to respond to a brief in early January
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Stefan Bradley, Research, Insight and Operations Director at The Art of New Business talks about the second in the series of events happening during The Good Pitch Week.


The second day of the Good Pitch Week promised yet another prestigious and insightful session – and it didn’t disappoint. Yesterday we were treated to a session from HSBC highlighting the importance of a strong agency/client relationship and following on very nicely today was Ian Priest, president of the IPA and founding partner of VCCP, with his keynote address.

Ian presented an overview of the IPA’s ADAPT programme and for those of you that haven’t heard of ADAPT (where have you been?!), its purpose is to help the marketing and communications industry adapt to a rapidly changing world. ADAPT aims to turn talk into positive action that improves commercial creativity, promotes best practice and creates win/win situations for both agencies and clients.

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