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Deliveries within minutes, dissatisfaction within weeks: Issa PR accuses Getir of idea theft
Anyone who’s ever prepared a PR or advertising pitch for a potential client knows full well the amount of time and effort it requires.
So if you receive no conclusive response regarding your pitch, yet later see almost identical ideas being executed in PR and ad campaigns all over town, it’s inevitable that you feel taken advantage of, and that your hard work has gone down the drain.
According to luxury and lifestyle brand marketing agency Issa PR, this was exactly what happened to them.
The agency has alleged that Turkish start-up Getir used Issa’s ideas in their PR and ad campaigns in London without permission, credit or payment.
Founded in 2015, Getir offers through their mobile app an on-demand “ultra fast” delivery service for grocery items, as well as a courier service for restaurant food deliveries.
Beginning with a big ask
Speaking to PitchMark from London, Issa CEO Viet N'Guyen revealed that Getir approached Issa in December last year for full-service recommendations for their London launch, which had been scheduled for end-January 2021.
“They asked to see ideas around a big stunt or impactful event to ‘make a splash’ in London, and wanted to cover creative, PR, social media and digital,” said N’Guyen.
Issa said it then proceeded to submit a full-service proposal to Getir, who gave overall positive feedback and said they would be in touch.
Getir did, however, decline one concept in particular, which involved advertising key messages on bike boxes throughout London — N’Guyen said Getir called the idea “dangerous” and “distracting” to execute.
In addition, Getir was hesitant to implement Issa’s suggestion that they utilize Getir’s time promise of “delivering in minutes”, as the start-up was not confident of keeping that promise.
Ideas that travel
But after receiving this feedback, Issa claims they did not hear anything further from Getir for nearly half a year. Instead, they were shocked when they saw the very ideas they had pitched being used without their knowledge in the start-up’s PR and ad campaigns in London soon after.
“Two weeks later, our recommendations were on every bike in London,” N’Guyen said, “Countless similar ideas appeared all over the city from January until May.
“We saw Getir’s bike box advertising leveraging our strategy and messaging in January. Creative we had recommended was seen on their social media in February. Bus stop and other major out-of-home advertising began to appear in March in the Waterloo area.
“We had recommended a bike guerrilla stunt, and Getir activated a taxi guerrilla stunt on 1 April. Digital advertising in Piccadilly Circus appeared in May.”
Falling short on the follow-up
Issa reportedly attempted to contact Getir to follow up on whether they had decided to hire another agency to execute these campaigns, but to no avail.
N’Guyen said, “Getir was unresponsive to Issa’s emails for five months, then finally confirmed they would not move forward with us despite similar ideas appearing across London.
“Six months following the pitch, the prospect has still not provided information on whether they hired another agency, which is standard practice within the industry.”
She added that despite reaching out to Getir multiple times for feedback, Issa’s attempts at communication were ignored. Eventually, Getir passed this onto their legal team, who simply declined to acknowledge any similarities.
It is also worth noting that — based on deeper research by PitchMark — Getir’s PR and ad campaigns in Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam bear similar taglines to that in their UK campaigns: “delivery within (a few) minutes” or “groceries within minutes”.
This stands in contrast to the company’s campaigns in their native Istanbul, where they use “getir bi mutluluk”, meaning “bring some happiness”.
This also coincides with Issa’s claim that since Turkish is not widely spoken in the UK and Europe, Getir needed to break into those markets with a completely new tagline to underscore their value proposition in a simple, memorable way — which Issa emphasized in their pitch.
Do ideas carry IP value?
PitchMark contacted Getir for comment on these allegations, to which a Getir spokesperson responded: “We're aware of the claims from Issa PR. All we can say is that Getir vehemently denies all the accusations they have made as entirely baseless, false and without merit. As such, we are not commenting or engaging widely on this story (as we really don't believe it is a story at all).
“Our only comment would be that Getir has successfully grown since our launch in 2015 through many marketing ideas and channels, such as outdoor advertising and branding on our bikes, couriers and bags.
“To suggest such ideas carry IP value is baseless and without merit. At Getir, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of business ethics. This applies to how we compete, how we do our work and how we treat our stakeholders as well as business partners.”
In response to this statement, N’Guyen said: “Notifying agencies that have participated in the pitch process and responding to emails is basic professionalism. If this is the ‘highest standard of business ethics’ and how they treat agencies, stakeholders and partners, particularly in new markets, should consider this for any future work.
“This dialogue also raises questions about the company's culture, governance and control, among other issues. Companies, industries and individuals that focus on legal liability over what is right are directly responsible for eroding business ethics.
Doing right by their rights
N’Guyen told PitchMark that the agency “has received over 100 comments from CEOs, MDs, founders, TEDx Talks speakers, Billboard musicians, agency heads, and many others who have been outspoken about this issue, and who support the importance of creative rights and IP”.
“If we as an industry allow these things to happen, they will continue to happen. So it's critical to lead by example to highlight good, ethical business practices and how, as an industry, we can stand together against these issues.”
PitchMark helps innovators deter idea theft, so that clients get the idea but not take it. To find more about our services and how we can keep your ideas safe from theft, visit PitchMark.net and register for free as a PitchMark member today.