Mother to give up a year of profits from new clients who appoint them without a pitch

Finding an alternative to the traditional pitch has become a preoccupation across the industry. Mother has come up with a pretty bold solution: offer new clients who don’t put them through the gruelling pitch process a chance to feel good about themselves.

Mother’s global “Pitch it forward” initiative promises to donate all first-year profits from a retained client to not-for-profit organisations that help “inspire future generations with the power of creativity.”

Whether clients go for it remains to be seen, but “Pitch it forward” is a signal to the wider industry — and prospective talent — that Mother wants to do things better. It’s all part of a wider initiative the agency calls “Make Our Children Proud” which hopes to challenge conventional business practices (it includes asking clients to sign a “pride” statement, a new focus on doing good, and on diversity and inclusion).

Michael Wall, global CEO of Mother, said: “If we can make a difference, and do so in a thoughtful and useful way, we will always try to. With Pitch It Forward we recognise that for some clients there are other ways to commit to a strong relationship with an agency partner as opposed to the ‘default’ of a full creative pitch. When the opportunity and conditions are right, and if invited, Mother will still take part in well-run pitches for clients with creative ambition.”

Peter Ravailhe, CEO & partner of Mother in the US, said: “Our independence gives us the privilege to look at making every dollar, pound and yuan count. With Pitch It Forwards we want to use our profit towards living up to our purpose.”

The IPA and ISBA recently came up with the Pitch Positive Pledge, which aims to address the well-documented problems of the pitch by asking their members to think about greater transparency, better mental wellbeing, and reductions in cost and wastage.

Pitch Positive Pledge was dismissed by many as a mere sticking plaster on a problem that needs a complete overhaul, but at least it was an effort to make a statement about an issue that has always proved difficult to address. BBH vowed never to pitch when it launched back in 1982, but wasn’t able to stick to that ambition.

Mother’s solution is a new one – it will be interesting to ask in a year’s time how many clients have taken them up on it. Will they see it as a form of emotional blackmail? And do existing clients who give them new brands without a pitch qualify?

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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