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European Association of Communications Agencies Code of Ethics

EACA Empfehlung für Ethik in Agenturwettbewerben (Englisch)

The advertising agency industry is as competitive as business and commerce itself. Just as competition among manufacturers of products and providers of services stimulates product development and helps keep prices attractive to consumers, the intra-agency competition is a guarantee of constant development. The creative work, the heart of the advertising agency business, must constantly improve to secure existing business and gain new clients. Training and education are stimulated by the necessity to offer clients top class agency staff. 

The competitiveness should be directed to constructive development, however, not lead to unwarranted disruption of productive agency-client relationships, unfair loss of profitability for agencies, potential distrust between advertisers and agencies, or the decrease of the general perception of advertising for what it is – a free-standing, highly professional trade in its own right.

The EACA Code of Ethics in Pitches below is intended equally for advertisers and for agencies.

It recommends 5 considerations before the agency pitch process is started:

  1. The ultimate asset of a marketer is a strong brand. The selection and retention of the right agency is critical for an advertiser because of the role the agency is able to play in building and promoting the advertiser’s brand(s), hence ultimately enhancing the profitability and corporate assets of the advertiser. *) Long-term relationships benefit the health of a brand. Try to make the existing client-agency relationship work before deciding that a move is the right answer;  
  2. If the challenge is a new advertising campaign, for instance for a new brand or branch, a broad agency pitch might not be the right step. An alternative is to approach an agency with whom the advertiser is already familiar, for instance through work on another brand;  
  3. If the final consideration leads to a decision to pitch, there might not be a need for a full-fledged creative pitch: Strategic direction might suffice;  
  4. Throughout the pitch process both the advertiser and the agency/agencies must work in full agreement on copyright, confidentiality of material provided to the agency/agencies as well as by the agency/agencies to the advertiser, and the financial conditions;  
  5. The objective of the EACA Pitch Principles guideline (EACA Facts Library 1/1 is to optimise the quality of response and the likelihood of selecting the ideal partner for a new, long-lasting relationship. 
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