Kraft Foods has struck another blow in the increasingly uneven ‘negotiation wars’ between clients and agencies. According to an Advertising Age report, Kraft is demanding that ad agencies pitching its business not only relinquish ownership of ideas they present but, get this, accept legal responsibility for any ideas used in the future.
So, Kraft not only takes your ideas but, if they’re sued down the road because of one of those tactics being illegally or incorrectly implemented, the agency takes the legal hit, not Kraft. And that applies to winning and losing agencies alike.
Picture this: your firm kills itself to create a drop dead creative presentation, goes through late night rehearsals, kisses the requisite prospect client ass in the pitch and sends after-meeting ‘please hire us’ notes and trinkets hoping against hope to be selected. But, you aren’t.
Now, fast forward a few years down the road and imagine a phone conversation that goes something like this:
Kraft: "Ah, hi there. How have you and the agency been?"
You: "Great, Syd. Great to hear from you again. What’s up?"
Kraft: "Remember that idea you guys had to create the world’s largest hunk of cheese?"
You: (chuckling): "Absolutely. We still think it has tremendous legs to it."
Kraft: "Well there are some legs underneath it. One of those 2,000 pound cheeses was on tour, collapsed and crushed three consumers. We’re being sued, but you guys are legally liable. Just wanted to give you the heads-up there’s a class action suit headed your way."
Kraft’s new dictum would be absolutely hilarious in its absurdity if it didn’t place unsuspecting agencies in harm’s way.
In recent years, lawyers and purchasing managers have been adding all sorts of unneeded and unnecessary policies and reporting procedures to the new business process. But, this latest legal machination is not only unfair, it’s irresponsible.
Thanks to Bob "Frank" Reed for his idea.