Cash for ideas?

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Interesting point on the value of ideas this week. Three PR agencies have had the blow of being booted out of a pitch softened by remuneration for their ideas.  Confused.com actually appointed Cake to its retained consumer PR, but not before offering to pay for the creative ideas presented by a number of the losing agencies. These ideas are set to be developed by the inhouse team.
This is the latest twist in a pitch process that has been far from conventional – indeed, it kicked off with a Twitter call to action and it shows genuine innovation on the part of the comparison website. It is, of course, perennially difficult to measure the value of an idea – but we all know that the right idea, nurtured and executed in the right way can deliver limitless dividends. Equally, most agencies will understand the pain of being counted out of a pitch only to see their presented ideas emerge months later, perhaps delivered by a cheaper agency or inhouse team. Indeed, it is a risk we have taken to protecting ourselves against via a pitch protection service.
confused.com

Not everyone agrees that ideas created by agencies have a solid tangible price tag attached to them. For example Jon Silk goes back to the old argument that original ideas are very few and far between – with most being borrowed, stolen and adapted from other places, so we sould be happy to give away the idea for free.

Never the less Confused.com is making a powerful point here.  The team there is confronting the elephant in the room and accepting that the agency that is the best fit, doesn’t necessarily have all the answers, or all the great ideas. Rather than mimic these ideas months later, they’re recognising the blood, sweat and tears that goes into a good idea – and of course the commercial value. They appoint the best all-round agency for the job, the losing agencies get recompensed for the value of their ideas – everyone’s a winner. This could be a flash in the pan, a one-off example – but it might just set the standard for a fairer way of working and a step towards industry-wide recognition of the commercial power of a great idea.

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