PETALING JAYA: Andrew Lee, who was re-elected as the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As ) president for the second consecutive term, is not wasting any time to weed out rogue advertisers who are pushing to own pitch ideas.
Lee and his team at 4As are working hard to contain this unethical practice which has been rearing its ugly head in the ad industry for some time.
“4As is strongly against the practice by some rogue advertisers who claimed intellectual property ownership of agency’s ideas during a required pitch.
“Such unethical practice is a concern in the advertising industry and it must stop. “There are rogue advertiser who calls for a pitch just to fish for ideas and subsequently use the ideas without paying or appointing the creators of the ideas.
“Such an unethical practice should not have a place in our industry, “ he told StarBiz in an email query.
Advertisers must review their standard agreement clauses when it comes to creative pitches, he said.
It may be a norm to have a clause claiming rights to product samples submitted in a tender but it cannot be the same when it involves intellectual properties,” Lee stressed.
A pitch for all intents and purposes is an offer to provide a service to the advertiser or client.
Unless the advertiser is acceptable to this offer with an agreed consideration to be passed, ownership of the intellectual property remains with the advertising agency.
4As, Lee said has been advising its members to look out for these unethical clauses in all request for proposal (RFP) agreement and to have them removed before signing.
These clauses are impotent and ineffective from a legal standpoint, as they do not provide a binding relationship between the agency and the advertiser in a situation of a service being provided where no formal contract or letter of appointment has yet to be signed, he added.
To-date, Lee said at least two advertisers have since informed the 4As they have removed the unethical clause from their RFP documents, adding that more should follow suit.
Lee, who is also the managing director of Havas Immerse, was re-elected 4As president at the association’s 14th biennial general meeting held recently.
Khaidi Kamaruddin was voted in as the new vice president. He is also the founding partner of advertising and marketing agency Bulb Communique.
According to him, 4As would continue to pursue its five primary goals. These include providing industry guidance and leadership, raising industry standards and professionalism, fostering continuous professional development for the attraction and retention of agency talent, promoting commercial creativity and its effectiveness, and lastly, serving as the government’s principal information source and advisor on advertising.
From the talent standpoint, Lee noted that various initiatives have been put in place to overcome the shortage and retention of talents in the ad industry.
“The 4As has been selectively active in career fairs to attract new talent into the industry.
“To nurture existing talents, the association will extend its alliance with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) for another two years, thus retaining exclusivity for four of their online professional qualification programs in Malaysia as well as to appoint IPA’s endorsed trainers to conduct customized boot camps locally,” he added.
Besides the above, he said in line with the 4As’ mission to nurture agency talent, scholarship awards was also initiated. Lee said this would help agencies, especially smaller ones who may not have a training budget.
The talent shortage, he said can be mitigated by hiring specialists and professionals from other backgrounds to inject fresh ideas in the fast-evolving advertising and communications landscape.
As for the prospect of the industry this year, he foresee advertising expenditure (adex) would continue to grow but the growth would most likely come from local products and brands.
Lee noted: “The past few years have seen an increase in the popularity of ‘buying local’. The people feel good to support local producers, artisans, and manufacturers because it limits one’s carbon footprint and supports local businesses for economic benefits.
“There are great opportunities for brands who champion social and environmental causes. People are troubled about the state of the world.
“They are concerned about a range of environmental issues, including water and air pollution, deforestation, species extinction, food and clean water shortages, and climate change.
“They make the effort to buy and are willing to pay a bit more for a product if a portion of the proceeds goes to a good cause.”
Furthermore, he said there are also opportunities in marketing to the older market segment.
The age 40 was the new 20 and now 60 is the new 40, he said.
“This is a segment with purchasing power and they don’t just buy for themselves but for their family especially their grandchildren,” he stressed.
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