Tim DuffyTim Duffy: Oystercatchers have helped us in a number of ways.  We’re agencies, we love competition, that’s what we do, and I think what Oystercatchers do is make that a really good, robust competition.  They do it in a number of ways which are very valuable.  We find it valuable and I personally find it very valuable.  The first thing is really helping us understand the client, and getting an understanding of the client is more than just the brief.  It’s the history, it’s the culture, it’s the desire, it’s the personality, it’s the ambition, there’s a whole richness there and I think that insight and interpretation that they add we find very liberating actually and it’s enabled us to do a much better job, so that I think is enormously valuable.

Tim Duffy: The second thing is they understand us, and have gone a long way to making sure that they’re able to best present us to the client and to help us put our best foot forward and we found that valuable because it means we can do a better job for our clients, we’re better able to answer the brief in a way that plays to our strengths.

Tim Duffy: I think the third thing they do is that they manage the actual process of a pitch in a very different way to their competitors.  They get involved, they provide clarity, and they provide feedback.  The feedback is sometimes brutal, but we don’t mind that! Whether it’s positive or negative, it’s fine, it’s honest and it helps us again evolve and move forward.  They strip away the uncertainty, they strip away the doubt.  They act in meetings as a point of clarification so that I think probably both clients and us as the agency, we go away thinking we know precisely what we need to do, we know the road we’re on, we know what weaknesses we need to address, we know what strengths we need to capitalise on.  I think again that helps get better work so that the final presentation had been better, so my experience has been nothing but positive.

Tim Duffy: What I like about Oystercatchers other than the wonderful collection of characters that they are, is that they get involved.  They don’t sit on the side-lines and referee from the side-lines, they get involved.  What getting involved means is that it’s a very dynamic, interactive process and stuff gets better day by day and hour by hour.  I think that’s hugely valuable.  I think what they do in doing that is they add value without adding bias and that’s a very clever thing that we as agencies really benefit from, and most certainly the clients do and that’s quite precious I think and they do it very well.