The Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As) Malaysia has released another statement denouncing advertisers that continue to employ “unethical demand clauses” when calling pitches.
The association spoke out about the issue of advertisers demanding ownership of agency ideas presented at RFPs last July, slamming the practice as “unethical and unfair”.
That position was well supported across the industry, the 4As said in its latest release yesterday. However, Khairudin Rahim, 4As Malaysia CEO, said the association feels compelled to reiterate its stance because it has “continued to receive disturbing reports” that advertisers are still demanding that all materials submitted by agencies in an RFP become the advertiser’s sole property.
Going further than in its previous statement, the 4As advise that such clauses have no legal standing, “as they do not provide a binding relationship between the agency and the advertiser in a situation of a service being provided where no formal contract or letter of appointment has yet to be signed”.
“A pitch for all intents and purposes is an offer to provide a service to the advertiser or client,” Rahim’s statement reads. “Unless the advertiser is acceptable to this offer with an agreed consideration to be passed, ownership of the intellectual property (IP) remains with the advertising agency.”
The 4As said it has been working in cooperation with the Malaysian Advertisers Association to curb this practice, and urges brand CEOs to “place an immediate stop to this unethical practice”.
“The 4As has therefore reminded agencies not to participate in any RFPs containing these conditions. Our stand has always been – and will continue to be that agencies should learn when to say “no” to such unfair demands,” the statement said.
Shaun Tay, CEO of FCB KL, said this is a recurring issue in Malaysia, but not one his agency faces as they work with clients "that respect us and the work that we do".
"There are a tonne of awesome clients in Malaysia who are incredibly supportive of an agency’s efforts," he added. "They know how hard we work and unethical behaviour is alien to them. Unfortunately there are some bad eggs whole spoil it for everyone but these are easy spot as their reputation precedes them.
"In this case it’s a simple solution: just don’t entertain their pitches! The onus is on the agency leaders to remember that they are in control of their business and can make that choice."