Industry absurdities

Agencies don’t owe media owners client names for RFPs.

client names in media
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client names in media


Media owners need to mind their own business.

“I found out the deadline past so good work on this, all this is vain now.” I told one media owner.
“How is it your business to know a client name when its not your client to begin with? Its your prerogative to keep track on who works on what clients and be police to make sure not more than 1 company dare try to service a brand?” Was my next sentence.
I asked Thursday for billboard prices with a deadline of Friday and here we are on Monday still with no prices with just a list of locations (no pictures even) and no schedule- either (Jesus step it up already) Useless information for my client, who needed by the weekend or Saturday at the latest.
Good job media company… you blew it. Your billboards are not included in the proposal. Because you demanded to know something which was not privy to you.
When I asked for prices their email said “we need the client name to proceed“. Fine, you have a 100% chance to make a big fat “0” on this deal. Your execs and shareholders are proud of the policy. Lets give you a gold star. Yay you “won”… nothing.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Media companies should know that it is not their place to dictate who gets to work on who’s campaign. And its not their company business to dictate how much competition goes to a brand, for competing bids or otherwise. You are not the gatekeepers of competing agencies pursuits. Companies like yours seem to be acting to much like those American Media Monopolies these days.
And what media owners are going to protect an agent from a client they are trying to win, from buying direct from the media owner or skipping over to another agent to buy from, thus cutting the one that did all the work at first from the deal? Most don’t give a shit. Even if you give the name first and then get cut out, the media owner wont intervene, they will quietly sell to the competitor, other agent OR EVEN THE CLIENT THEMSELVES WHO CUT THE AGENT OUT. Agents get no special protections from media sellers 9 times out of 10. An agreement would need to be in place with the media owners to prevent circumvention. And again, I bet you 9 times out of 10 they won’t sign that. You want the name? Well what do we get in return? What loyalty and protection will you give us? Fine put ink to paper and promise you will watch our back and you wont cold call my client later.
And if I give you a client name what with your company do with that information? Will it go into a database? Will it be used in the future by your sales rep to cold call? How long will you hold the information? How and where will you store the information? Who will have access to it?
How do I know that at some point in the future your sales team may contact them as a lead and subvert us, sale or no sale this time around?
Any ad agency other than ours can have these views and concerns above. Half of ad agents we work with don’t want to tell us their client name. For good reasons. We respect it. To protect their interests. We avoid asking for it and don’t require it… except when Mr. Billboard Policeman requires it to get info, then maybe we will ask for it. But this whole requiring the client name thing needs to stop from companies such as JCD, Clear Channel airports, and their ilk.
Can you imagine a person selling a house, who then says to all real estate brokers who want to try to sell it to make their fee…
“if you want to show my house to your clients you need to give me the name and phone number of the prospective buyer.”
What!? How ridiculous. Can say the same thing about media owners these days.
Media owners are not privy to agents’ client database or otherwise who they work with. When and if we buy, then and only then you are entitled to brand identification. And even then media owners should not step on the prevailing agents toes.
It is not the place of media owners to police competing agencies or even the AOR for the client to “ensure only one agent is working with the client”. Uhh no-. Thats not always how things work in this ad agency business. You would not know because you are not in the ad agency business, you are on the media owning/concessionaire side of things. If media owners knew how ad agencies worked on the media planning and buying side, trust me, they would do much better in sales. Some get it, some really don’t. And the ones that don’t, get avoided by us in this industry more. Ignorance is will cost.

Who made the billboard company police of RFPs ?

“Give me the name or you don’t get to propose or pitch the brand”… Is in essence what the Plant is saying to the ad agent. “We want to make sure you are the only one showing information to the brand who is interested…” is the tone of the Plant,… Its like an interrogation room at the police station ” Cough up the name or its RFP jail for you”

“Its our duty to all those brands out there, whom we have no relationship with, no agreement with, no-nothing with– that not more than one of you propose, pitch or compete for business on” proclaims the tyrant Plant in an indirect unsaid way. 

Stay in your lane, know your place, stay out of our business until its made yours.

I have heard rumors that JCD asks for client names, and wont issue discounts until the name is revealed, all in an effort to force the hand to get the name. Why do they need a name so bad? Could it be they put it on a list for later cold calling? I heard yes. Once this author asked JCD in China to sign a Non-circumvention agreement first before I gave the name to them. They said no! The sales person assured me they would not approach the client and that ‘they don’t do that’. Well then why not agree to it on paper then? My suspicions were further intensified. No more name giving to JCD from here on until we buy. And keep your discount I don’t need it, Ill get it later.

Can you imagine being a private contractor to build a project such as inside a home, a bathroom, landscaping or fixing a car and calling your supplier to place an order for raw materials, lumber, car parts… or anything and the supplier, seller, shop says”

” well in order to give you a quote on this list of products and supplies you wish to buy Ill be needing the address and customer name of where the project is taking place, or the name of your customer of whose car you are repairing”.

“But the billboard business is different” Cries the sales people at billboard plants with this name policy… How in the world is my relationship with our clients your business!? How is your place to “make sure” only one agent pull data for our client? Stay out of business which is not yours and mind yours and we will mind ours. This behavior in the industry needs to be shunned and rejected in unison by all ad agencies worldwide. Stay in your lane board plants.

Another example of billboard policeman comes from the US (the most cocky for name rules, for whom cant try to rent a billboard and monopolistic place for media buying) from Clear Channel Airports. Want to get prices for an airport through CC for a bid, pitch or even your own client? Well CC may make you show a letter from that client that your agency is in fact the agent for them or the AOR. So if you don’t have that letter, or you are pitching to win business well, CC ad policeman here says you can’t do your business unless you prove you have the right to do it.  To RFP jail you go. So now concessionaires are making sure mono-agents only can work on RFPs. Bidding, competitions, heaven forbid that happens. Free enterprise and competing forces, oh no not here Mr agents. Heaven forbid more than one agent pitch an American billboard to a client! No no no, if you want to deal with the major media monopolies in the US, you must be of like action as a mono-agent. Ask a small plant billboard owner if you can promote and try to sell their inventory and they just may loose their minds on that idea. But I digress.

Media Co’s excuses to get the name

They all say its their policy. Ask why its their policy and its going to be along the lines of to ‘make sure only one company inquires’, ‘ so there is no conflicting requests’ bla bla. Again, its not your place, or business to tell agents that only one agent can do the work. What if the brand wants competing bids? Brands do this! Now if you don’t want to send out media kits to multiple agents because its extra work OK fine I understand that so then just send out the same copy of each proposal to ALL agents that asked. What the hell do you care anyway, ONE of those agents will come back and buy. Same requests, different askers. Send out the same copy you big baby. The proposal is in your outbox, copy saved from the last request. 20 seconds… send it out again. Give them all a chance to grease their palms. You have zero place to dictate which one can work on the RFP. Period.

Media owners just mind your business.