Do They Allow Double-Occupancy At The Paris Hilton?

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That is only one of the very funny lines from Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update segment when Jimmy Fallon interviewed Paris Hilton right after her “videotape” was “released.” You can read the entire transcript here: Weekend Update With Jimmy Fallon And Tina Fey.
Here’s what’s not funny about Hilton.
This week, Adweek reported that any company or agency participating in the hotel’s upcoming creative/media review (worth about $45 million dollars in business) would have to sign away ownership of all materials (they call it “all tangible expressions”). What the Hilton hotel wants is the rights to all of the ideas and materials presented,
I thought that AdJab’s, Hilton Wants To Keep Proposed Campaign Ideas, and Jaffe Juices’, Newsflash: Joseph Jaffe Vows Never To Set Foot In A Hilton Hotel Again, Blog postings were spot on. I am also happy that agencies BBDO and Goodby both refused to participate.
The issue brings to light two interesting angles.
One: Agencies typically do all of the “pitch” work for free. Meaning they can spend millions of dollars in time and ideas and not get the business after pitching alongside multiple agencies. I’m sure back in the day, this was not the case. If someone wanted to see multiple agencies, they would pay to see who would provide the best work. At one point, to be competitive, someone must have said: “we’ll pitch for free, just to prove what we can do,” and now we’re here. So, is anyone really that surprised that clients are now taking that to a whole new level?
I’m thoroughly disappointed, but not at all surprised. The fact that most clients want to see ideas and concepts for free and then decide who to work with is what got us here. Why shouldn’t Hilton think they can also get the cow for free? (We’ve been giving them the milk for years).
Two: I would love to see the advertising industry take the Hilton ad issue to task. Take it back to a level where if a client is interested in having so many agencies pitch that they should pay for the work that comes with that choice. I have been a part of this industry for many years and it’s time to take it back. A client who is truly interested in working with an agency should be able to assess the agency’s work that was done for others, the type of relationship they will have with the people there and then pay to have the agencies come up with preliminary concepts.
It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, maybe just cover the costs, but it should be done. You can’t eat a hamburger and then decide if you’re going to pay for it and you can’t call up a law firm and ask for several complicated contracts and then decide if you will buy them.
Bottom line: Ideas are worth paying for.
“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” – General Norman Schwarzkopf
That’s my Sunday rant.