Angry at clients, Belgian shops go on strike

Strike2

Leave it to the Europeans. Belgian ad agencies are on "virtual strike" this week to protest dastardly clients who are taking advantage of them by inviting lots of shops to pitches. Man, wait until Zappos looks for an agency there. It turns out the Belgian agency and client organizations got together in the 1990s to set rules for pitches, including forbidding clients from inviting more than three contenders for a piece of business. To an American, this sounds bizarre and totally unworkable. Well, unsurprisingly, the clients haven't behaved, sometimes inviting up to 10 shops to a pitch. The Belgian agencies are so upset that they've replaced their regular Web sites with an interconnected manifesto (to read it, you move from one site to the next) about how this kind of client skullduggery is bad for everyone involved. I'm not holding my breath for this idea to jump to the U.S. market. Clients are in the catbird seat and will continue to be so long as they're the ones cutting the checks. Maybe the procurement fetish will recede if clients realize it's hurting their bottom lines, but until then, agency complaints will usually fall on deaf ears. Via @ghensel.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey