Be Careful with Speculative Work

”Speculative work” here means any strategic or creative work for which an agency would normaly be compensated.


The A2C does not recommend including speculative work in your request for proposals for the following reasons:


  • An agency’s previous work is a better showcase of its talent and working methods. Their past achievements will help you discover how the agency collaborates with their clients in order to meet precise business objectives.
  • The agency’s speculative work is rarely used (or usable) because at this point in the process, the agency does not completely comprehend your reality or the challenges you face.
  • It is impossible in such a short period of time to recreate a realistic work environment. The variables (extent of the work, deadlines, needs) are not the same and a new business relationship requires significant time to reach its full potential.
  • Too often, speculative work can turn into a brain picking exercise that violates the industry’s ethical guidelines (intellectual property).


The A2C believes that relying on speculative work in a request for proposals will give unrealistic results and might lead you to put too much weight on a stylistic exercise as opposed to the other evaluation criteria. Moreover, speculative work is not always representative of an agency’s creative skills.


To help you determine the criteria on which you should evaluate the agencies that responded to your call for proposals, we invite you to consult our Evaluation Grid.