Thursday, September 17, 2009
Thoughts on Confused.com's 'cash for ideas'

I was interested to see in PR Week that Confused.com is offering the three losing agencies who tried out for their PR account cash for the campaign ideas in their pitches.

I've worked with numerous prospects and clients where ideas flow freely. Ideas you discuss during the pitch process often go on to be used in a full-blown campaign. Sometimes, you're not the agency executing it.

While many agencies, colleagues and friends say this is cheeky / outright theft, I've always tried to force myself to believe in the 'economics of abundance'. As a creative professional, I have loads of ideas every day (not all of them great). I'm happy to give a few away safe in the knowledge that I'll have lots more later. All you need to do is ask - and many of my network know it and do just that, at all times of the day (and night).

When we pitch for a client it's normally up to the pitch leader whether we put a disclaimer saying the ideas are ours. I'd normally vote against it, for the reasons above.

Plus, if the company does go ahead and cheekily use the ideas, then it not only tests the tactic out for you, but it demonstrates that the company itself was one you probably didn't want to work with anyway. Good luck to 'em, I say.

One agency has turned down Confused.com's offer of payment. I think I'd do the same thing, but offer them for free instead. What would you do?