Here at AgencyFinder, we advise advertisers not to request or encourage “spec creative” in their final presentations. Yet one ad agency’s “spec creative” is another ad agency’s “demonstration.” But in general, spec creative to most means a sample ad or ad campaign that purports to represent an agency’s best thoughts for delivering “positive needle-movement” for the client conducting an advertising agency search and review.
In the next breath, there seems to be agreement that a client deserves to see, in one way, shape or form, that an agency “get’s it!” by demonstrating they will be able to deliver those positive results if hired and compensated to do so.
Here are some alternatives we suggest:
1. The Backward Glance – have the client reflect back (1-2 years) to a specific situation that occurred (marketing challenge) where they have evidence of actual results. In the Presentation Brief, outline that situation in it’s entirety, then assign contending agencies the task of presenting specific solutions, including “spec creative” if they wish. Then compare and contrast those proposals to what actually did happen.
2. The Dissimilar Business – have the client create a brief for a fictitious business situation (but familiar to the client) clearly removed and distant from the client’s actual business. Let the contenders propose to this make-believe situation (with spec if they desire) but doing it this way, the client can witness the problem-solving skills of each agency without triggering agency concern that this creative might be “stolen” without compensation!
3. The Complete Surprise – client gives contending agency folks (no advance notice other than the fact they can bring as many and whoever they wish) a “surprise” on-site assignment and 1 hour (with client present and witnessing) to prepare; then 30 minutes to present. No tools other than flip charts and markers.
In numbers 1 & 2 above, and with advance notice, each agency is asked to prepare a “Presentation Invoice” with details to show time, rates and totals for the presentation as if the agency were already on-board. That gets presented following the formal presentation.
This topic is considerably more involved than this short discussion allows, but if you’d like to chat or help us expand on this, give me a call or drop me an email.
– See more at: http://www.agencyfinder.com/2014/10/three-remarkable-alternatives-to-spec-creative-for-agencies-in-final-presentations/#sthash.ZRrqI1PK.dpuf