Faaez Samadi
Jul 5, 2018

Malaysia pitch controversy: Client association head says unfair practices “not a rampant issue”

The head of Malaysia's advertisers’ association responds to accusations from the 4As about unethical pitch practices.

Malaysia pitch controversy: Client association head says unfair practices “not a rampant issue”

The head of the Malaysia Advertisers Association (MAA) has responded to claims of unfair pitch practices by saying the problem is not a big one, but that it should be looked into.

Speaking exclusively to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Kadri Mohamed Taib, public affairs and communications director at Coca-Cola Malaysia and president of the MAA, said regarding RFPs and the ownership of intellectual property, “the best fit for the relationship between agencies and clients is the willing buyer/seller approach as well as a mutual level of trust”.  

Taib’s comments come after the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) Malaysia issued a strong statement earlier this week condemning brands that allegedly insert “automatic ownership transfer” clauses into their RFPs, which commit agencies to hand over all IP regarding ideas, plans and work product that they bring to a pitch, even if they do not win.

Kadri Mohamed Taib

Taib continued: “We also believe that this is not a rampant issue and if abused, would then result in agencies choosing not to participate based on their own evaluation. However, given that this issue has been raised as a matter of concern, the MAA is open to looking further into the current industry practices in the interest of all parties and respect for each other’s requirements.”  

As an example of the mutual trust Taib is proposing, he pointed to the MAA’s support for the 4As initiative to charge pitch fees, “which was then left open between our members and their respective agencies to choose to abide by it”.

The pitch process is not a one-sided relationship, he stressed, with advertisers also having something to lose.

"In a pitch situation, advertisers also require protection,” he said, “as the brief is strategically related to their business and they would have also taken a risk by disclosing their business strategy to agencies with whom they would not be working with in the future.”

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