Most creatives have seen this happen. They work hard on a pitch, loose it despite their hard work. Think nothing of it, and a while later, said client runs something that looks a lot like your refused ideas.
On condition of strict anonymity, a vice-president with a Top 10 agency had the following incident to narrate.
Some seven years ago, when I was an account director, the agency I was then with was invited to pitch for an FMCG business. After a detailed pitch process involving four agencies „ including the incumbent „ we were told that we had failed to make it. The client had retained the incumbent „ not that there was anything wrong with that. But two months later, the client broke a new campaign that was a significant departure from the earlier communication. Imagine our surprise when we saw the new strategy was exactly what we had recommended during our presentation. Even the creative execution bore a fair bit of resemblance to what we had presented.
Read more today at agencyfaqs.com - you'll have to scroll down this page to see the entire article, lot of buttons up top. :)