Ad buy RFP = wild goose chase
October 23, 2008 by Dave Haynes
An industry friend who has been selling advertising forever read my recent rant about the digital signage RFP process and sent me and some other industry people a note relating his own experiences, which are familiar, though entirely different.
For the third time in as many weeks, our sales team has been asked to respond to an ad agency’s bullshit RFP.
Here’s the scenario:
We get an unexpected, not on the radar, not on the prospect list, not in the pipeline, “Hallelujah! OOH Digital is finally getting some attention” call from the media department of a legitimate ad agency. Of course, their interest is flattering (ok- orgasmic)
We are then asked to submit a significant amount of detail for…Client ‘X’
In turn, when we ask for specifics:
- Target demo – “Dun’no….errr….over 18…well, yea, how ‘bout… guys and dolls….gents and gals…yup…how about males and females….yessirreee, that’s it…how about Adults 18+, like, can you work with that?”
- Campaign dates – “Flexible- ummm- 2nd quarter….and maybe a bit of the 3rd quarter as well, if you’re really, really good”
- Budget – “Depends….but lots!”
- Campaign objectives – “Duh! How do you spell that?”
And, of course, they need the info right away
In each case, the agency’s real client is an existing (or ‘About to Launch’) OOH digital operator, without the integrity (read – ‘balls’) to get on the damned phone to ask any of us directly for the info that they need for whatever f_ _ _ _ _ _ report they’ve been asked to submit … ostensibly, no doubt, to prove the value of their own existence.
Going forward, our team will not respond, under any circumstances, to Client ‘X’ RFPs.
That whole thing would make just about anybody crazy, but I doubt many planners are filled with remorse. When you control large ad budgets, you are pretty accustomed to line-ups of ad sales people waiting to kiss your ring and bring you gifts. The truly tough aspect of this is writing these requests off, on the very off chance that one is indeed legit.