Zappos Review Ignites Agency Ire | Adweek Zappos Review Ignites Agency Ire | Adweek

Zappos Review Ignites Agency Ire


While Magness noted that Zappos received a hard copy of all proposals and held a discussion with each agency on the list, he said the high volume of responses required a quick review of materials.
"A client can get a pretty good sense if this is a thought starter or direction that makes sense right now," he said.
Agencies have long complained the review process requires too much work from them and gives clients the upper hand to demand ownership of ideas presented. Yet agencies typically continue to participate. As an added twist, the review was unusually open, in keeping with the Zappos corporate culture fidelity to transparency.
"We could have said, no, sorry, we will not allow you to participate," Magness said. "In the end, does that help us?"
One shop that failed to advance submitted a reply to the RFP that totaled nearly 80 pages. Ten to 15 agency staffers worked on the submission during a two-week span, including three creative teams, said a top executive at the shop.
In the end, however, the agency doesn't blame Zappos for the massive response, which may be more reflective of the collective hunger among agencies for new business in a relatively quiet marketplace. "There's just so little to go after right now," the exec said.
Reflecting on the leverage that clients generally have with agencies these days, the exec said: "If will always be an unequal relationship -- no two ways about it." If people like Ignited begin to speak out about [bad practice in reviews], maybe people will think twice" when client red flags arise in the future.
Likewise, Ignited pleaded guilty to being "part of the problem."
"We have only ourselves to blame for being suckered into the Zappos extravaganza," wrote Wolfsohn. "But to be clear, we're not bitter about the outcome (better to be eliminated in the first round than the last); we're disappointed by the process that led to it."
Zappos is unbowed by the reaction on Twitter and industry blogs to the process. Magness said the company remained confident it would end up with the right agency.
"We were interested in talking to the big guys down to the small boutiques," he said. "I'm confident we'll find the right partner."

Nielsen Business Media