Zulu Alpha Kilo
Client: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Title: World’s Worst RFP
Date Of Campaign: Nov 1, 2018
Background: Every year, Strategy – the industry’s largest trade publication in Canada – hosts an Agency of the Year gala. Shortlisted shops are asked to produce a short video to debut on the night to a captive audience of senior members across the industry. In 2015, Zulu Alpha Kilo created its #SayNoToSpec film that famously went viral and ignited a global conversation about creative spec work in new business pitches, and how things needed to change. The brief for this year’s video was to take #SayNoToSpec a step further and find an entertaining and insightful way to shine a light on the entire RFP process for new business pitches. Rather than simply portraying the absurdity of the RFP process, we wanted to put forward constructive solutions that could make real impact and help to make the RFP process better for both clients and agencies.
Idea: Inspired by post-game media scrums in professional sports, we created a film titled World’s Worst RFP. The film skewers all the wrong ways to run an agency pitch – from spec creative and the sheer number of agencies invited to how people behave during presentations. It opens with the client and both winning and losing agencies at a press conference. As it continues, reporters hurl questions at the agencies with heavy emotional responses and drama captured in their very honest answers. Coupled with the video, we consolidated our observations and learnings about the pitch process and created a thought-leadership piece at SmarterPitch.com. Clients, agencies, pitch consultants and other industry players were invited to contribute using #SmarterPitch. The site was frequently updated to incorporate new ideas and practices from the broader industry. Tips from SmarterPitch.com were also repurposed as tweets and LinkedIn posts in the week after the video went live – creating a hubbub of online and social noise. We wanted to be completely transparent with our findings and start to build a conversation that would help the industry as a whole.
Results: Our video rang true to all in attendance at the Agency of the Year event and was widely shared online. World’s Worst RFP was quickly picked up by both local and international publications, including Ad Age, Muse by Clio, Campaign Asia and AdWeek, among others. Advertising greats such as Tim Nudd and Susan Fowler Credle even shared the campaign on their respective social media accounts. SmarterPitch.com received thousands of views from around the world, with 75% of the visits coming from outside of Canada, proving that the RFP process is a current worldwide challenge facing our industry. Most importantly, we’ve received dozens of comments of support and new ideas from clients, pitch consultants and other agencies about how to make the RFP process better.With that piece of work, we hope to continue spreading our message and starting conversations across the industry to support both clients and agencies across the globe.