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Selecting an Ad Agency
Adapted from J. Scott Armstrong for use in lectures related to
Persuasive Advertising
Select Agency 13
February 22, 2015-R
Traditional “Pitch” or Advertising Proposal
• To get started, do the Bell Communications
exercise. As you watch this video, list the
procedures that see useful and also those that
could be improved.
Full Video Link
Overview of the process
Develop objectives for the campaign
Develop formal evaluation process
Use the two-stage selection
Set Objectives
Net benefits
• ROI on campaign (or similar) with explicit attention
paid to objectives of stakeholders.
• Propose a contract with common objectives (e.g.,
both parties benefit from profits on the advertisement)
For details on setting objectives, see Persuasive Advertising, pp.
Low risks
• Financial
• Legal & ethical (incl. treatment of stakeholders)
Set a goal on how many techniques you can
apply to your project.
Assume that you were making a proposal to a
client to convince them that this is a worthwhile
Develop formal evaluation process
Use a multi-skilled group
Domain experts in the product area
Advertising experts
Legal experts
Pre-specified rating sheets
Is the agency interested?
List of prior clients & contact information?
Conflict of interests?
Can they submit a copy of a proposal or a general
outline of how they do a proposal?
Later: Would they be willing to follow your format for
a proposal?
Select agency based on processes
(Do not use image, awards, or claimed success.)
Request samples of proposals
Avoid face-to-face meetings until you decide which
agencies would be acceptable.
Use multi-skilled group to evaluate the proposal
Independently complete criteria rating sheets (Delphi)
Use Multiple Anonymous Authentic Dissent
Selection of an agency
Request written proposals from a few of the
Use independent ratings of process from the
members of the selection committee.
Negotiate with top two or more bidders. (Faceto-face meetings OK here)
Checklist for Proposals
Examine the proposals to check for:
• objectivity
• full disclosure
• reliability
• validity
Use the checklist on the next slide to analyze the
Subaru case from the article “Seducing these men”
Better, use the Excel version of this checklist.
It is up to the agency to prove that they covered each
point. If not, then give your lowest rating.
Proposal Rating
Rating System: 1 is poor, 10 is excellent.
Agency must convince you. If no
information give lowest rating.
1. Planning Techniques
2. Objectives
3. Target Market Research
4. Creativity Techniques
5. Persuasion Research
6. Copy Alternatives
7. Copy Testing
8. Media Alternatives
9. Media Testing
10. Capabilities of the Team
Rater Percentages on average
“How Should Firms Select Advertising Agencies?”
J. S. Armstrong, J. of Marketing, July 1996, 131-133
in full text
Provides an application of the “Structured guide
for evaluating an agency's proposal.”
Now compare this approach with theAmerican
Bell proposal.
Application of the Checklist
1. Obtain at least three, but preferably five
independent ratings of an advertising proposal
for your project
Given that you will be using novice judges, you
will have to use the the Excel version of this
2. Use the results of this “audit” to improve the
proposal for your project.