New Improved Advertising Agency Search Process: ANA / 4A’s

Advertising Agency Pitching. Oh, The Uncertainty. 

Unfortunately, most client agency reviews come with a great deal of uncertainty. They shouldn’t, but that’s the way it is — or should it be?

The 4A’s and the ANA understand this issue and recently published a new set of guidelines for the advertising agency search process in their report “Agency Selection Briefing Guidance.”  From the ANA/4A’s:

The 4A’s and ANA believe there is an opportunity to further improve the agency search process by developing best practice guidance tools around the subject of briefings throughout the agency selection process.


The ANA/4A’s task force believes that every phase of a review, or agency search, requires a thoughtful briefing that
provides specific direction to the agency. The review process should provide escalating information to the agencies as
the review progresses from the initial phases (e.g., RFI, RFP, credentials) to the later phases (including any strategic
and/or speculative work and finals presentations).

The report divides the search process into three phases.

  1. Initial list / RFI Phase
  2. Semi-Finalist RFP Phase
  3. Finalist Phase

This is an important tool that both agencies and clients should read and use for guidance. I think that when you are asked to pitch a new client that you share this document. While it might seem forward and somewhat pedantic of you, I’ll suggest that making the prospect aware of this ANA perspective will be proof of your professionalism and might even help the client tailor their process for success. And, hopefully, yours.

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