The practice of new business prospects asking ad agencies to provide spec work prior to handing them the business has become standard in the advertising business. Agencies complain but pretty much every agency complies with spec requests and pretty much every brand has no problem requesting spec work.
In an effort to demonstrate just how ludicrous and insane the concept of spec work really is, Toronto-based Zulu Alpha Kilo created a video in which they ask business people (a restaurant owner, a coffee shop owner, a personal trainer, etc.) for spec samples of their work prior to doing business with them.
The agency says the people in the video are actual business owners and not actors. The reactions to spec requests are priceless and drives home the point just how crazy spec work requests are to normal people.
Alas, it seems, many in the ad world are clearly far from normal and have no problem asking for and providing free stuff. Zulu Alpha Kilo made the video for Strategy Magazine's annual Agency of the Year event Wednesday night.
Zulu Alpha Kilo hasn't provided spec work in five years. Take a look at the video here.