Kraft's Pitch Demands Trigger Protest Among US Ad Shops

21 May 2007

NEW YORK: Kraft is on the menu at some of Madison Avenue's swishiest eateries. Not the food titan's products (to gourmets' relief) but its latest pitch ploy - currently a sizzling topic among adland's lunchers and diners.

Kraft - currently reviewing ad shops for its Oscar Mayer, Kraft Singles, Ritz, Triscuit and Grey Poupon brands - is demanding that participating agencies assign it not only the intellectual rights to their proposals and creative concepts - but also assume legal liability for those properties should Kraft decide to use them at any future time.

Unsurprisingly, the demand has triggered a furore of protest - and not only by participating agencies - suggesting to industry onlookers that that the US agency world has drawn a line in the sand against clients' overbearing pitch demands.

Tom Finneran, evp management services at the American Association of Advertising Agencies, described such demands as "totally outrageous."

"We are talking to members about the best practices ... and we recommend that agencies should preserve ownership of ideas and work product. ... On the issue of indemnification, we recommend that agencies seek counsel from their attorneys."

According to Friday's Ad Age, Kraft implied it may be about to back down on the pitch issue, albeit remaining non-specific.

Says Kraft spokeswoman Renee Zahery: "We're in the process of refining our agency-pitch require-ments. Kraft values the relationships we have within the advertising community and wants to be fair. ... We realized these practices needed to be adjusted to align more closely with industry standards."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff