Pitch consultants label Warburton comments as ‘childish name-calling’

Pitch consultants have responded to Seven’s James Warburton comments accusing them of being “bottom feeders”, as “childish name-calling” and counter productive for the industry.  

In a guest post on Mumbrella today, TrinityP3 MD Darren Woolley, said while pitch consultants often challenge marketers and agencies to focus on value, the response is often “heavy discounting and price cutting”.

“Agencies are comfortable with a cost recovery model and often reject our efforts to explore value-based models. They want their cost and the icing too,” Woolley said.

“If agencies and the media were willing to link their remuneration to the value it creates for advertisers then remuneration models will change. Until then it will continue to be a cost accounting process. So Mr. Warburton, while your intentions are clearly to be helpful, childish name-calling and misdirected blame is not.”

The response follows comments made by Warburton, Seven Media Group’s chief sales and digital officer, at the Media Federation Awards call for entry event yesterday.

He accused both pitch consultants, procurement departments and media auditors as being “bottom feeders”, adding that remuneration models had gotten worse.

The Agency Register’s Peter McDonald argued however that pitch consultants and procurement “perform very different roles” and should not be grouped together.

“The best relationship is when agencies, procurement, marketing and search consultants all work together,” McDonald said.

“I don’t understand why he felt the need to say something like that. He’s been busy in the media world for a long time I wonder if he’s even had a conversation with anyone from our side recently. In his days in agencyland he must have been victimised by some way by a consultant.”

Warburton, a former Universal McCann managing director, told Mumbrella as the Grand Prix sponsor of the MFA awards his comments were made in the context of creativty and innovation.

“I stand by my comments. I’m not interested in debating it. My focus is on media agencies continuing to strengthen and to do so they need to get greater remuneration. Right now they’re underpaid and undervalued,” he said.

“Let there be debate, but a lot of people can’t speak in a fortright way about procurement because they know they will pay a price for saying it.”


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