I am posting this link because we have all had this experience.
Bassically this illustrator received an email from a Creative Director asking him to do work for one of his multimillion dollar clients for free, claiming he would win awards and all kinds of "exposure".
We have all received notes like this and I find it shocking that so many people even in creative fields think that what we do is easy and should be done for no compensation.
I had a high circulation magazine ask for some of my art for its cover for no pay and their email actually asked me to send a hi-res image! (Several times!!!) When I said absolutely not they tried to position it as a "free advertising opportunity". The periodical had no art connection, but even if it did.
And I have heard from agencies asking for free work...
I think at best those who do this are ignorant of the amount of work and perseverance it takes to run your business as an illustrator/designer/creative. At worse, it is a cynical practice to take advantage of those who do not know better.
What are your horror stories?