A worrying trend has been highlighted in the latest issue of PR Week, which reports that airport company BAA is charging agencies £1,000 per pitch for up to five PR contracts in distinct areas including media relations, corporate reputation, crisis comms etc.

Do not adjust your set, you did read that correctly. So, in addition to the considerable time, thought and effort that goes into preparing a proposal, agencies must also pay for the privilege?

This will surely price a number of highly-capable agencies out of the process completely, while leaving a somewhat sour taste in the mouth of those that comply. Hardly ideal circumstances for a process that should mark the start of a successful long-term relationship.

All agencies accept the fact that they cannot win every account they put themselves forward for. But the work that goes into preparing a pitch never constitutes wasted effort. The process of developing ideas is a constructive one, even if the specific elements change. This is wholly different from having to fork out a fee, which cannot be recouped.

As PR Week notes, this is a trend that has been seen intermittently in the advertising sector, but one that is thankfully rare in PR. It needs to stay that way, regardless of the client, and it is good to see both the CIPR and PRCA are united in standing against it.

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