Mother is launching Pitch It Forward – an initiative that promises to invest the first-year profits from clients who appoint the agency without a full creative pitch, into the future of creativity.
For all new retained clients that eschew a full creative pitch and choose to appoint Mother after a chemistry meeting, the first year profits will go towards not-for-profit organisations that help inspire future generations with the power of creativity.
The agency says that by “limiting the relentless pitching merry-go-round” it is instead investing its potential profit in creative projects that support its purpose: to ‘Make Our Children Proud’.
Chris Gallery, partner at Mother London, commented in a statement: “After 25 years of pitching at Mother, deep down - no matter how hungry we are for it - we know the creative advertising pitch process is a time consuming and sadly sometimes wasteful exercise. The best work always comes out of strong relationships with clients, built on shared values, ambition and purpose. So why don’t we aim to build these strong relationships - and the basis for a successful partnership - earlier in the pitch process? For some clients, we believe we can and asked ourselves: what if we used the remainder of that ‘pitch time’ for good?”
Peter Ravailhe, CEO and partner of Mother in the US said: “Our independence gives us the privilege to look at making every dollar, pound and yuan count. With Pitch It Forwards we want to use our profit towards living up to our purpose. We believe it represents a progressive and impactful approach to contribute to the future of creativity, whilst encouraging a savvier way to pitch - one that achieves the desired partnership outcomes as well as providing direct support to future generations of creatives.”
Michael Wall, global CEO of Mother added: “If we can make a difference, and do so in a thoughtful and useful way, we will always try to. With Pitch It Forward we recognise that for some clients there are other ways to commit to a strong relationship with an agency partner as opposed to the ‘default’ of a full creative pitch. When the opportunity and conditions are right, and if invited, Mother will still take part in well-run pitches for clients with creative ambition.”
The independent agency looked at how it could adapt to make more positive change and new business came into focus. Chris tells LBB that he and his team noticed two things were happening often: the potential to waste a lot of effort, resources and money on pitches (and potentially for five agencies per pitch). Secondly, “we were also feeling that clients knew which agency they wanted to appoint very early on in the process,” he says. “These two things combined gave us an opportunity to turn the waste into something good, plus speed up the process for clients.”
The decision to place a threshold at the chemistry meeting was built on years of experience of how the pitch process really works. “Over time we’ve found that you get a sense of whether you will be a good partner for a client, and vice versa, very early on in a pitch process – usually at a chemistry meeting,” says Chris. “So we took that to heart when designing Pitch It Forward. Instead of spending week after week confirming your initial suspicion let’s spend those weeks working together as partners then use the time we have saved on pitching to invest into positive actions elsewhere.”
The not-for-profit partners who will benefit from the clients who make their decision to work with Mother after just a chemistry meeting will have the common aim to inspire young people through the power of creativity, and the potential for careers built around it, showing paths for careers in the creative industry.
Mother will work with each client to find the right not-for-profit organisation to partner - one with shared values and objectives. “Mother has a number of great organisations we already support, but understand that individual clients may have specific causes they would want to support,” says Chris. “The only stipulation is that creativity has to be at the heart of inspiring the next generation.”
Pitch It Forward will be available to clients working with the Mother Family in London, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Singapore.
When the independent agency started 25 years ago – working around the kitchen table, sharing the washing up – its aim was to ‘make their mothers proud’. Today that has evolved to ‘Make Our Children Proud’ – a one word change that it says has changed everything, says Chris. “We’ve been working with this for the past few years, and it has helped us really up our game across all disciplines and departments. The bar has been set higher for all of us to live up to this mission.”
The mission uses the agency's independence to challenge conventional business practices and to make bold decisions that benefit future generations.
The agency lays out Pitch It Forward as a win-win-win: Clients will save on the time invested in a creative pitch; Mother will save time and money; everyone involved will be able to redirect their energies into more productive creative pursuits. Mother also hopes that other agencies will consider and adopt the Pitch It Forward principles. Maybe this could be the start of a brave new norm.
“We hope that it helps clients to make quicker decisions when choosing the right agency partner,” says Chris, “which will also reduce the wasted time and energy all agencies put into unsuccessful pitches.”