In 2015, a video called Say No to Spec went viral around the world and sparked a dialogue about ending a requirement for ad agencies to produce unpaid creative work in new business pitches. Now the agency behind it, Zulu Alpha Kilo, has launched a follow-up.
Called the World’s Worst RFP, the film skewers all the wrong ways to run an agency pitch, from spec creative, the sheer number of agencies invited, to how people behave during presentations. Inspired by post-game media scrums in professional sports, the film opens with the client and winning and losing agency at a press conference before a throng of reporters.
“Today was the final of the biggest pitch of the year,” starts the film. “Six grueling months, 25 shops and four rounds of spec creative later, only two competitors were left standing.” Soundbites from the agencies include: “The client was on her phone the whole time,” “We cave twice as fast as the competition, we do sub-par creative, we kiss a lot of ass” and “We fumbled the clicker handoff during the PowerPoint.”
World’s Worst RFP was unveiled at the Agency of the Year, an annual awards show hosted by strategy, Canada’s largest trade publication for the industry. Zulu was nominated in three categories: Digital, Design and Advertising Agency of the Year. The agency ended up winning overall Gold as Design Agency of the Year and Bronze as Advertising Agency of the Year.
Say No to Spec premiered at the same event in 2015.
“Every year, Strategy invites the agencies shortlisted for Agency of the Year to produce a video to debut at the gala. And so we wanted to entertain, but also use the platform to call attention to how our industry can be better for both clients and agencies,” says Zulu founder and chief creative officer Zak Mroueh. “Hopefully World’s Worst RFP and smarterpitch.com will start a dialogue just like Say No to Spec did.”
Along with the video, the agency has consolidated its observations about the pitch process into a thought-leadership piece at smarterpitch.com. Zulu is inviting clients, agencies, pitch consultants and other industry players to add to the list by using #smarterpitch.
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
- Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
- CD/Art Director: Rodger Eyre
- CD/Writer: Gerald Kugler
- Agency Producer: Bette Minott
- Account Team: Violet Karbalaei
Production House: Zulubot
- Director: Zak Mroueh
- Director of Photography: James Klopkp & Nathaniel Chadwick
- Producer: Bette Minott / Christina Hill
- Audio Mixer/Boom: Paolo Di Teodoro
Casting Director: Jigsaw: Shasta Lutz
Video Post Facility / Editing Company: Zulubot
- Editor: Marissa Bourgougnou
Compositor / Online: Zulubot
Colourist/Transfer: Alter Ego: Connor Fisher
Audio Post Facility/Music House: Zulubot
- Engineer: Stephen Stepanic