Toronto-based Zulu Alpha Kilo released a short two-minute film last week called “Say no to Spec.” The film called into question the common advertising industry practice of creating free “speculative creative” work to win clients in the bidding or “new business” process. The film has amassed over 1.5 million views and generated debate over the value of offering free work to prospective clients.
The video has even struck a nerve with people outside of advertising. Freelancers, contractors, photographers, journalists and a myriad of other professionals have rallied behind the cause using the video’s hashtag #SayNoToSpec.
The video features real shopkeepers and professionals being asked for “spec work.” Their reactions illustrate the absurdity of working for free. It was originally created for Strategy Magazine‘s Agency of the Year competition in Canada.
“There is a much better way to choose an agency partner,” said Zak Mroueh, Zulu Alpha Kilo’s founder and the director of the film. “Spec work is an antiquated process that dates back to the Mad Men era. It’s a cog in the increasingly bureaucratic procurement machine.”