It seems like an extraordinarily bizarre idea. Nevertheless, it is astonishing how widespread it still is. Although the episode described above dates back several years, many companies still allow themselves to be seduced by a process that is as ineffective as imaginable and that makes them economically blind.
The framework conditions are often similar. Purchasing or controlling issues new guidelines for pricing at suppliers, the old and possibly proven agency relationship is to be checked to see “whether something better is found”, or the leading position in marketing has been newly filled.
In all these situations it is almost a matter of reflex: Now the pitching is what it takes. At least three, if not as many agencies as possible, are now invited to set mouse and man in motion, to develop and present unique ideas and sample campaigns for real or even fictitious projects. Gladly in one or more rounds of elimination.
“The best part is, it costs nothing!”
After each individual round, each idea is then to be refined and worked out more precisely. Of course, as free as possible or for a symbolic compensation – an astonishing process that would be completely out of the question in any other industry.