About Speculative Work

Over the past few years, speculative work has become less common in the agency selection processes, as clients and agencies have come to realize that it’s detrimental to both clients and agencies and should not be part of any selection process.


“Speculative work” here refers to any work (creative, strategic, media planning, insights, ideas, etc.) for which an agency would normally be compensated, but is requested free of charge or for a fee below market value, as part of an agency selection process.


Why is speculative work discouraged? Because it…


  • Is a poor evaluation tool
  • Detracts from better indicators
  • Could lead to idea appropriation
  • Generates excessive and underestimated costs and time
  • Causes higher costs for the client
  • Can be detrimental to the agency’s current clients
  • Limits the number of submissions