I wrote about our experience of losing a credentials pitch several months ago in this very section (have a read if you’ve got the time), and the disappointment of putting so much effort into a client that we knew we could make a big difference for, but in the end it wasn’t to be.
Little did I anticipate that the feeling of disappointment would turn to a feeling of injustice though, now that the brand project we missed out on has recently been launched… and ouch, it’s like a poke in the eye.
I know what you’re thinking, this is just another rant from a sore loser, and it is… a rant I mean, but not necessarily from a sore loser. In a way we are winners here; we ended up contributing to the resultant project anyway, without lifting a finger.
That would be an impressive feat if it wasn’t for the fact that said client and the ‘winning’ agency took a large dose of inspiration from a previously launched brand project we had talked them through (as part of our credentials pitch).
Because this is what we do in a creds pitches – we get a handle on a business’s problem and demonstrate how we’ve solved similar-ish problems in order to convince the client of our ability to take on the challenge.
The prospective client was impressed, “I like that” he exclaimed as we showed him the idea and how it worked to communicate a difficult technological solution in a very simple and engaging way (making difficult things look simple is usually very difficult).
He must have liked it an awful lot, because now he’s using it!
Or a big part of it anyway. But actually he’s not using it, he didn’t get it at all. It’s a graphic style that has some relevance to his business, but it isn’t telling their customers anything, it’s not highlighting their strengths, it’s not showing-off their skills, or services, or intelligence, or determination… it’s just there, existing for it’s own sake… blandly, and obviously – a watered down version.
So it’s a very poor interpretation of our original idea, and that’s almost more annoying than being ripped-off. As Pablo suggested, if you’re going to steal – at least do a great job of it.
But what about the designers who ‘created’ the work? I haven’t mentioned them yet, why am I pushing my ire on to the client and letting the designers off the hook?
Well, I know that the client has seen our work, but I don’t know for sure that the designers have – so maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt. There are many ways in which similar work can be created, I’m sure we ourselves have unwittingly created work that has a similar idea to something created before. Like Umberto said,“every story tells a story that has already been told”.
Maybe the client suggested the idea without even realising that they had seen it somewhere before, we all do it I suppose.
Perhaps the designers were struggling with a very difficult brief (it was very difficult) and were happy/relieved for the input from the client when it arrived.
This stuff happens in our world. It’s not worth calling our solicitors about, it’s not worth worrying our own clients about, and it’s certainly not worth picking up the phone to the designers either… I guess that they’ll not be feeling much pride about their/our achievements anyway.
I also imagine that in the near future they’ll be rethinking their solution, because it won’t help them solve their problem… If they even know what their problem is.
That was a proper rant actually – I feel better now, thanks.
Written by David Thompson