Why we won’t do speculative creative, and why we think that’s a good thing.

Two weeks ago we were asked to submit a bid for a relatively large advertising and marketing project. Normally we jump at the chance, but on this occasion, we gracefully declined. Why? Because the request asked that creative ideas be included in the pitch. It might sound a little odd given that we’re a creative agency, but that is precisely the reason why we said ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

We know that in many industries you have to put a lot of work into pitching for work that you often don’t get. You pour blood, sweat and tears into your pricing, your proposal, what sets you apart from the competition and it all takes a huge amount of time. In certain sectors, there is an expectation that your tender submission will be much, much more than a few pages printed from Microsoft Word and shoved in a ring binder. This is expensive in terms of time and can also involve paying third parties, all in the hope that the gold medal ends up around your neck at the end of the race.

We understand this because we do it too. We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our pitches are accurate, fair and attractive. We have meetings to talk through ideas and, depending on the project, can contact several suppliers and advertising platforms to get information and prices. As a creative agency, we want to make sure that our proposals look good, which also takes time and effort.

This is all part of the job, and we are 100% not complaining about this.

The part that troubles us is being asked to supply visual creative material before, in most cases, we’ve ever even met the client. All of Dynam’s creative work is driven by a real understanding of our clients’ businesses: their values, customers, personality and goals. We spend time getting to know them and their business, and the creative work that we produce rolls all of this knowledge up into a visual concept.

So that is why we declined the invitation to pitch for that advertising project. We couldn’t have supplied them with visuals that we felt comfortable with, but we also knew that other agencies would have gone ahead and fulfilled the tender request with visuals – which would make our submission look rather lacklustre in comparison.

We’re okay with all of this because when we do supply work to our clients, we know that it’s something that is considered, professional and meaningful. Which in turn helps to make our jobs just that little bit more enjoyable.