If you love advertising, watch AMC’s The Pitch. If you are a college student or an adult changing careers and you are thinking about going into advertising, watch The Pitch. As one advertising exec on the show put it, “You have to be insane to work in advertising.”
I spent a block of time this holiday weekend watching the five episodes that have run so far (Sunday a sixth ran, but I haven’t seen it yet). I loved every minute!
The setup in each episode is this: Two ad agencies send reps to a large client and gather info for a creative brief. These reps then fly home and share the info and brief with their teams. The teams have seven days to come up with an idea and develop it enough for the ultimate pitch. The reps fly back to the client and pitch their idea. One agency wins the account.
You learn a few things very quickly:
- You have to have an ego and thick skin to work at most ad agencies.
- The best ideas aren’t always chosen.
- You must have good listening skills so you can really deliver what the client wants.
- Advertising is not an easy business to be in…and that is sometimes half the fun.
You also have to have guts to go on this show. No one wants to walk away a loser, especially not twice (SPOILER ALERT—Skip to the last three paragraphs if you don’t want to know who won).
The Ad Store vs SK+G
The Ad Store did just that. But I am not the only one who thought they should’ve won. AMC runs polls on their website after each episode that asks “Who should’ve won?” Here are the results so far for the Ad Store episodes.
In their first episode, The Ad Store went against SK+G to win the Waste Management account. The Ad Store’s campaign was brilliant—Trash Can. No, not “can” as in canister. It’s “can” as in is able to.
SK+G had a horrible tagline—Turning waste into WOW!—but a better presentation. Their initial video was emotionally strong and well done. And the deal sealer was most likely their mobile component—where the video playing on the mobile phone becomes the mouth of the person on the print ad. Creative and fun!
However, as good as they were, I would’ve had a hard time hiring them because of the jerk who kept interrupting his own colleague during the pitch. So unprofessional. This guy was pretty much an ass through the entire episode.
The Ad Store vs Kovel/Fuller
In the second Ad Store episode, they competed against Kovel/Fuller to win the Frangelico liqueur account. This one was very close. I liked both pitches. And now that I’m exploring The Pitch website (they have the artwork posted there), I think Kovel/Fuller deserved to win. But here’s what I liked about the Ad Store’s pitch:
- They were honest enough to tell the client that their bottle looked like Mrs. Butterworth (and their recommendation to go clear was perfect).
- This all-male team was open enough to consult with a women-led agency first to get the female perspective and to start over when told their idea sucked and sounded like a feminine hygiene product.
- Their storytelling idea matched well with the Legends theme Frangelico wanted to keep (but their copy was a little weak).
Check out the show for yourself and spend some time on the website. AMC is doing a terrific job with all the extras available online. You get to vote for who you think should’ve won, and you get to hear why each client chose the agency. Plus a whole lot more.
Sadly, I don’t think The Pitch will last because I think the audience is too narrow and the 11pm time slot is a killer. People may madly love Mad Men, but not everyone wants to see the real behind-the-scenes of the advertising world.
The Pitch is very interesting and well worth watching. And the website keeps your interest going. I hope it catches on. And, really, if you think you want to go into advertising, watch all of the episodes and then decide. You’ll get a very good sense of what you’re getting yourself into.