WARNING: This Post Contains Graphic Comments About Our Industry.
Ad Age ran a story this morning proudly announcing that Lyft, as part of its search for a lead creative agency, is “putting a call out for a “wildcard” agency on Twitter.”
And in less than a moment, my mind exploded. For Ad Age, how is this a story? For Lyft, how can you treat our industry with such disrespect and think it is acceptable? For Alex Bogusky (the ex-ad agency exec who hated pitches), how can you participate in this farce? For our industry, when will you finally stand up and say enough is enough?
So you have the proper context, Lyft’s CMO (Kira Wampler) and Creative Director (Jesse McMillin) are managing a process that involves “inviting” an unspecified number of “big agencies” to prequalify for the pitch process, so Lyft can select nine of them to compete for the business. In addition, a special callout has been made (via a video posted on Twitter) for the “little guys” to also vie for a seat at the table.
Apparently nine beauty contestants isn’t enough; Lyft also wants a sassy “wildcard” agency to participate in what they refer to as “one round of interviews in front of the Lyft brand team in its agency search.”
I am currently LMFAO at the entire thought of this. At the audacity of Lyft and Alex Bogusky. At the ignorance and stupidity of this process. At the willingness of agencies – big and small – to be publicly toyed with by the likes of the “Lyft brand team.”
MEMO TO THE INDUSTRY: It is time to “kill the cattle call” process. Take a little pride in what you do and let the organizations who are searching for your services do a little homework of their own. Let them interview you and look at your experience and your work and decide if you are the right fit. Save the song and dance routine for the circus animals – oh wait, that’s politically incorrect these days… yet it’s okay to make agencies do it.
Let’s be clear, I have no problem pitting my agency’s experience, ideas and performance against any other agency. I have no objection to willingly developing proposals and competing for business. And I am always willing to let the chips fall where they may. Competition is fair and good.
But in the case of Lyft’s approach (which is not unique) this is open, public humiliation for eight big agencies and one small wildcard agency that will not get the business after being put through hoops just to entertain a CMO and a creative director, who stated for the record: “The RFP process has gotten so dry and formal.”
Well maybe for your next agency review you can include a swimsuit competition. Good luck to the agency who gets selected, you will have earned the payout. For the others, there is therapy. And I suggest you select 10 therapists and have them compete for your business; it only seems right.