Sick of being asked to work for free? This agency is, so made a video (above) showing what'll happen if you try it with a cafe, personal trainer and framer.
This proved to be wildly popular, so they've released four new videos of outtakes and a butcher's response, which you can watch at the end of this story/
As creatives, we're often asked to work for free - from pitch work that's expected to be a little too close to the finished product to the leeches on our industries that are 99designs and Talenthouse. This often seems the norm for us - but it's good to be reminded that it's not for most businesses, who expect to get paid for all the work they do.
To draw attention to this, Toronto-based agency Zulu Alpha Kilo has made a video showing what happens when you ask people to work for free - using all of the bullshit that clients use to milk you: primarily the promise of future work. Being from North America, there's a lot of talk of "spec work" - a term that's not as popular over here as "free pitching" or "this client's trying to screw us".
The video is funny, but that humour comes from how ridiculous our industries' situation is when seen from the outside. What's also ridiculous is that clients aren't actually getting a good deal from free pitches - as they'll indirectly get charged for them in the long run.
"Spec work remains entrenched in our industry, says Zulu's founder Zak Mroueh in a post on Medium. "It’s an antiquated practice that has been part of the creative world since the Mad Men era. It’s a cog in the increasingly bureaucratic procurement machine.
"We’d like to help unchain clients and agencies from this outdated process. Because we really do believe that it’s bad for clients. It’s bad for agencies. And it’s bad for the entire industry."
Zulu Alpha Kilo employs 75 people and hasn't done spec work for free since Zak set it up five years ago.
"It was a risky move for an agency in its infancy," he writes. "It meant that we would end up walking away from nearly eighty percent of the RFPs that landed in our inbox. In the beginning, it even made a lot of Zuligans uncomfortable. It left potential clients confused. After all, who says no to new business?
"Some potential clients were frustrated. Some thought we were crazy. But then a select few were very intrigued. A couple of them even changed their RFP process so that we could pitch their business. And then there was that rare breed that never asked us for spec in the first place. (Many of them are Zulu clients today.)"