MFA and Initiative’s Mat Baxter scold payment for tender documents

Initiative chairman Mat Baxter has labelled the $80 fee to access the pitch documentation for a World Vision media tender, “exactly the sort of bad behaviour that needs to disappear from our industry”.

Baxter’s comments on a LinkedIn post come as industry leaders express concern about the precedent that could be set by the $80 fee to access tender documents for World Vision Australia’s media pitch. It was reported yesterday that World Vision has placed the account out to tender via the third-party platform Procurement Australia, with the access fee attached to access the document.

A spokesperson for World Vision Australia, the non-governmental organisation, commented yesterday that none of the money flows directly to World Vision, rather this being the standard charge levied by Procurement Australia.

MFA CEO Sophie Madden

Sophie Madden, Media Federation Australia’s (MFA) CEO commented that: “The MFA does not support agencies having to pay to participate in tendering, and it’s certainly not likely to generate trust and confidence in the process itself, or contribute to a positive experience for all involved.”

Following the MFA’s recent successful agency pitching report with the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), Madden added that: “Requiring agencies to pay a fee to access tender documents does not fall within the best practice guidelines”.

Baxter, who has previously criticised the pitching process in 2019, commented: “… if Procurement Australia charges a fee for the pitch, then the client, not the agency should pay for it… after all, World Vision initiated the very tender process that they are now asking agencies to fund.”

Madden echoed this sentiment. “In my view, if an advertiser uses a third-party consultant, then they should cover that cost.

“Pitching is a significant undertaking for all parties, requiring sharing of valuable IP, time and resources. To get the best outcome for all parties, advertisers should determine their required pitch outcomes and invite a selection of agencies to participate that have the potential to deliver those outcomes.”

“I am unfamiliar with the pitch in question, but would recommend any advertiser considering pitching takes the opportunity to review and adopt the best practice guidelines, easily accessed on the MFA website.”

With World Vision spending an estimated $7 million a year on advertising, Baxter wrote that calling a pitch “should be a tangible cost of them – it certainly is for all of us. What they are asking sets a very dangerous precedent for the industry”.

A spokesperson for World Vision told Mumbrella “the only way to access the tender documents is via, and any agency that expressed an interest prior to the release of the tender has been directed to this site to access the documentation, as will any agency who contacts World Vision following the release.”

Sam Buchanan, the general manager at the Independent Media Agency Association later added: “Given the amount of work and resources that go into a response (sometimes running as high as tens of thousands of dollars), it is unreasonable to charge any amount”.

Mumbrella reached out to the AANA  and the Australian Ad Council for comment, but had not received a response by the time of publishing.

This article has been updated since it was originally posted.


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