How To Choose An Advertising Agent

Introduction
Your agency is one of your most important partners and great care should be taken in the selection.  The AAAN has put this together to guide you through this time consuming process, and help you do it professionally
Deciding the type of Agency you need

  • Agencies are unusual collections of bright lateral-thinking people supported by technology.
  • The product they create is conceptual, and seeks to present you brand to its market in a new and compelling way.
  • It is vitally important that you establish a human relationship with Agency people – a partnership.  You will get more and better ideas if you do.

Weighing up an Agency's Character
Think about both the character, and the functional delivery of the Agency.

Different character attributes

  • Aggressive, considered, proud, reactive, innovative, stable, exciting, loud, conservative, youthful, fun, modern, traditional, established.

Different functional attributes.

  • Strategic strength, tactical speed, creative flair, media competence, production know-how, through-the-line ability, technical accuracy, financial acumen, international/regional network.

Researching the Market

  • Call for a list of accredited agencies
  • Sift through and shortlist about five or more for a CREDENTIALS PRESENTATION (This allows for the opportunity to see the agency’s work and show reel, and to ask questions which help to determine fit and chemistry).
  • Visit as many as you want.  Walk around the building.  Meet the people.
  • Ask about depth of resource, and any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Prepare a maximum shortlist of three agencies.
  • The more the number the harder the final decision.

Briefing Your Shortlist

  • Decide what you want them to prove to you.  This is best done by setting a specific task:  asking for “an advertising plan for next year” will not produce as satisfactory a result.
  • Offer a pitch fee as a recognition of the work you are expecting.

Guidelines For The Presentation

  • Give the Agencies a minimum of two weeks, and up to four weeks to respond on a more complex problem.  Keep the ‘judging panel’ in your company as small as possible, and to individuals of similar status.
  • Involve people with a genuine interest in the outcome.  Make sure they understand the brief and agree with it.
  • Avoid ‘tick boxes’, give the panel freedom to react on an emotional and rational level, in their own words.
  • Receive no more than two presentations per day.

Judging The Presentation
Suggested discussion guide for the panel

  • Did they answer the brief?
  • Do they have intellectual depth?
  • Do we think their proposal will work?
  • Are their costs fair?
  • Can we work with these people (what will it be like)?
  • Are there any issues we would like them to clarify?

Try to maintain the confidentiality of the debate, and its result.

Pitch Fee
It is mandatory that if any AAAN member-agency is invited for a strategy or creative pitch, then a pitch fee will be paid to the agency if it does not win the pitch.  The pitch fee is to cover the intellectual and other expenses on the exercise and is in line with global practice.  However, a client prospect may invite an agency or agencies for credentials pitch and is not obliged to pay a pitch fee at the end of the exercise.  The fee details are as below:

  • Credentials Pitch  (no fee may be paid)
  • Strategy Pitch      N500,000
  • Creative Pitch       N750,000

The payment of these stipulated sums is mandatory if the pitch involves any AAAN member-agency.  Member-agencies are expected to firm these details and confirm the client’s readiness to pay these fees in writing before agreeing to pitch for the piece of business.  Failure by any of our members to adhere or comply is treated as a very serious professional misdemeanor, with the offending agency liable to very serious sanctions.

Formal Appointment of Successful Agencies/Contract of Engagement
It is expected that a formal agreement based on a standard industry format be signed between the client and agency within a period of 30 days to formalize the relationship.

During the 30 days period, and before an agreement is signed between the client and the new agency, the new (AAAN) agency is also mandated to confirm the status of the business from the incumbent agency with respect of contractual/financial obligations etc. and report to the AAAN secretariat (in the case of dispute).  Where there are professional or financial discrepancies or disputes, the AAAN secretariat will be expected to mediate.  Where a case of financial recalcitrance is proved against the client, the AAAN reserves the right to stop its member(s) from taking on the new business.

Copyright Ownership of Creative Materials
Under the existing laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, copyright ownership of all creative materials produced by any of our members resides with the agency, even when the client has paid creative or pitch fees/charges.  If the client wishes to own the materials, it will have to negotiate a separate fee to cover the buy-over of the rights.  Creative materials include, but are not limited to copy, copy proposals, visuals, art work, story boards, demos for radio and TV, still photographs, scripts, logos, creative interpretations, synopses and other such materials as produced or obtained by the agency for the client’s use.

  • It is in your interest to work with an AAAN agency for reasons of professionalism and accountability.