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PHA Media’s Phil Hall says any self-respecting corporate firm should pay for pitches

24th April 2013

If I had a pound for every time I have heard someone say it is not the idea, it is the execution that counts, I would no longer need to work for a living! Clearly the implication is it is fine to come up with a great strategy, but if you can’t deliver it, then surely it is worthless.

I am not so sure.

So many PR companies are lured into pitching for work when they don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of landing the account. The object of the exercise is for unscrupulous firms to build a tranche of great ideas they will attempt to deliver themselves or pass on to their incumbent PR agency to work on.

It is impossible to impose a standard across the industry which insists that all PR firms charge for their pitches. But surely some of the bigger firms – and at PHA we have 60 staff and thus are a medium-sized agency – need to start doing just that.

Their ideas are priceless but impossible to protect, but surely any self-respecting large corporate company can afford to pay for the pitch.

It is my experience these pitches often take the man hours of two people for a week. If it is a particularly big account, with rehearsals, train fares and new technology, then it costs more.

Why should we be the free engine room for organisations who lack creativity, passion or knowledge?

Maybe one route forward would be to agree a contract in advance that agrees that compensation should be paid for any proposal put forward that then appears in a PR campaign in the future.

Some may decline, but it may prevent honest hard-working agencies from wasting an awful lot of time presenting to unscrupulous firms. 

Phil Hall was editor of the News of the World and is chairman of PHA Media. Phil writes a regular column for

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