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IPA and Isba pledge to fix the ‘broken’ pitch process

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By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

January 27, 2022 | 3 min read

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (Isba) have pledged to improve the “broken” pitching process by making it more “intentional, accountable and effective.”

Announced at the AA Renew conference today, The Pitch Positive Pledge plan looks to reframe the pitch process in a bid to improve mental health, cause less wastage and reduce costs.

IPA and ISBA to improve the pitching process with the Pitch Positive Pledge

IPA and Isba are to improve the pitching process with the Pitch Positive Pledge

The initiative has been spearheaded by IPA president Julian Douglas and Isba’s Andrew Lowdon, and forms part of the Douglas 10X agenda.

The trade bodies will run a series of workshops with members and stakeholders to come up with a series of actions and commitments, with the pledge being unveiled during Mental Health Awareness Week in May.

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According to Douglas, pitch guides focus on the ‘how to’ of pitching, which can be harmful to mental health and have negative environmental impacts. Douglas said the new advice should instead focus on the ‘why and when’ of pitching.

“Today, many companies have ESG commitments including wastage reduction and promoting diversity and wellbeing in their supply chain. The pitch process as it stands represents a challenge to these commitments,” Douglas said.

Douglas said with the added complications of working remotely the industry is seeing an increase in burnout and mental health challenges, resulting in a talent exodus from advertising. “Pitching can be brilliant, but the current system is broken. The need for change is real and the time to act is now,” he said.

Lowdon added that a significant number of pitches “ultimately may be unnecessary” and generate a lot of unnecessary work. “This represents wastage that we should look to reduce. In recent times, pitches have become more frequent, more complex and more costly,” he said. “Pitching has become the default option, often for smaller projects that previously would not have required a pitch.”

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