Requests for Proposal, or RFP's, have become the bane of the ad industry because they reward agencies for undercutting competitors on price. What results is antagonistic relationships and mistrust between the winning agency and client. The result is almost always the same - the client leaves the agency prematurely, looking for a happier relationship - and an even lower price.
Cal Harrison is a champion of QBS, or Qualification Based Selection, a methodology for agency selection that takes price bidding out of the agency selection process. I chatted with Cal on the toxic environment agencies are finding themselves in on a regular basis because of RFPs, the 'order-taker' mentality that has ensued, and what a world of creative difference QBS would make.