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Pitch Advertising Intellectual Property

4As Malaysia urges agencies to say no to unfair pitch demands


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

July 24, 2019 | 3 min read

The 4As in Malaysia has reiterated to the industry that entering into pitches in which the advertiser adds the ability to steal ideas has to stop.


4As Malaysia urges agencies to say no to unfair pitch demands

The 4As first issued a warning to brands last year about giving unethical RFPs that allow them to take the ideas from pitches, even from losing agencies.

It now says that this is still happening and in order for it to stop, agencies need to say no to RFPs that include statements that attempt to transfer IP to the client.

Khairudin Rahim, chief executive of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As), said that, after taking legal counsel, such statements are also not legally binding because “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”.

The issue is a global one, with high profile cases coming to the fore in Europe and America earlier this year suggesting that education and guidance are needed.

The types of statements included in unethical RFPs sound like the following examples, and agencies have been warned to watch out for similar sentences:

“All materials submitted in response to this RFP become the sole property of the Advertiser”
“All submissions for the RFP are not returnable and shall become the property of the Client”

Rahim added, “A pitch for all intents and purposes is an offer to provide a service to the Advertiser or Client. 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 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."

"We further urge CEOs of Advertiser companies to be aware of the details of their RFPs, and place an immediate stop to this unethical practice.”

The 4As in Malaysia said it has created a best practice guide that it will issue to brands and agencies that need the help, as well as provide further assistance to anyone who requires it.

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