Will IPA and ISBA’s new Pitch Positive Pledge finally bring change?

The perils of pitching are nothing new but — despite a lot of talk — little is ever done about the problem. Maybe because plenty of people enjoy the drama, and everyone enjoys winning.

Now that mental health is higher up the agenda, however, people are less prepared to take the lows that come with late nights, unreasonable demands, cost and waste.

The IPA and ISBA have got together to launch the Pitch Positive Pledge, supported by CALM and NABS, to provide a new set of guidelines for pitching. More than 70 companies have already signed, including Samsung, Boots, Virgin Media O2, Nationwide Building Society, Nestle, PWC, AAR, Wunderman Thompson, BBH and VCCP.

The three main tenets of the pledge are: be positive that a pitch is really necessary; run a positive pitch that takes wellbeing into account; and provide a positive resolution, including feedback on an agency’s performance.

IPA and ISBA plan to run a before-and-after survey to find out whether the PPP is actually working. It will look at areas including mental health, wastage, cost, and effectiveness. An update will be presented at the cross-industry Renew event in January 2023.

Julian Douglas, IPA President and international CEO of VCCP, said: “The Pitch Positive Pledge isn’t a marketing tool. It is a call for a change in behaviour across the industry. One of the very few positives that the coronavirus has delivered is an opportunity to tackle the long standing challenges facing our industry.”

Alain Duvaud, group marketing director, Nestle UK&I, said: “Our relationship with our agency partners is very important and the pledge enables both sides to consider the wellbeing and environmental impacts of pitching behaviour. We hope our commitment to the pledge will lead to even better marketing outputs to support our much loved brands.”

Charlie Martyn, global client development director, Wunderman Thompson, said: “Pitching at its best is brilliant. It brings amazing minds together, leads to business-changing ideas and helps our people grow. But at its worst, it can be hugely inefficient and costly. Particularly to our main asset: our people. The Pitch Positive Pledge is a great opportunity to set a new standard.”


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