Calling Out A Pesky Potential Client

I’ve received, as I’m sure most people have, my share of form rejection letters. Plus, I keep a good mental record of anybody who’s ever blown me off or shown me less than professional courtesy.
Over at Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary, Peter Madden reports on one new business RFP and the rejection thereof:

The big deal was how this company, Cricket Wireless, a subsidiary of LEAP Communications, handled showing us the door. Oh no, good people — it wasn’t just a form letter. It was a form letter that had another agency’s name in place of ours.
They didn’t even take the time to cut and paste our agency’s name into the form letter. I wonder how much time they took to actually review our proposal?
When a 30-page, detailed proposal from an agency isn’t selected, I think the agency deserves an explanation. A detailed one at that. How else are you supposed to improve upon what was presented? RFP or not, when a company decides not to work with you, you’d be foolish not to get details surrounding the criteria process and where your agency didn’t match up. So my response to our marketing contact at Cricket outlined good wishes (I’m such a freaking sport) and a simple request: can we have a candid discussion regarding the criteria process and why we weren’t selected?
Shhh. Listen closely. Do you hear that? Me neither.

I love it. Sometimes a good public shaming is a good response, not to mention it’s cathartic. Call them out on their behavior. When you shine a light on the cockroaches, or in this case the Crickets, they scatter fast.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Sometimes, it’s extremely difficult to be polite. I recently had an encounter similar to this one. A customer of mine wanted to check if I really did use the sources she sent me. Although our communication was only strictly email, I detected some sort of superiority and rudeness in the tone and sentence construction. It irked me to death, honestly. I have always responded to her in a respectful manner and have never botched up a job once. The thing is, I did do as she first instructed. To correct her, I would still have to be polite. The company actually stresses this policy (I wonder why). Anyway, she appeared to have calmed down after receiving my message.
    All I can say is, Kudos to all of us freaking sports.