The American Association of Advertising Agencies has put together a best practices guidelines designed to help shops retain ownership of the ideas they present during account reviews.
"The agency search/new business process should not be used by marketers as a mechanism to generate a bank of ideas and materials," the organization said in a position paper issued this week.
It called for the agency search process to be "efficient, timely and equitable," and said both sides and consultants should use 4A's tools to facilitate the process; establish a clear understanding on how spec work will be used; and understand the processes for each phase of a pitch.
"Advertising payment to agencies for participation should specify that payment is solely intended to offset agency cost of participation in the review and does not alter the agency's ownership of agency-developed presentation concepts and materials," the guidelines state. "In advance of conducting search meetings or presentations, the marketer and participating agencies should discuss how ownership, license or usage rights of agency-developed ideas, plans and work will be handled."
You can download/read the document here (it will open a pdf).