The Problem With Pitches Posted on | The Stable

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Mark Elwood’s comments below.

Pitches are weird things. They’re expensive, and a lot of that cost is in the wear and tear on agency people and the self-confidence of the agency as a whole – no one wins every pitch. They’re a contest – but usually, the agency doesn’t know the rules used in the judging. They’re artificial – the agency will never work blindly like this again. Does the way in which creative agencies pitch need an overhaul? What would make pitches better or fairer?

Let’s find out from five top tier creatives who have survived more than their fair share of them.

Mark Elwood, executive creative director, MullenLowe London

The problem with pitches? A big, old question, old being the word to focus on. I’ve taken the last three pitches we’ve been involved in to see if I can make some kind of assessment.

First, a beer brand, famous for its owner’s ambivalence to advertising. EXCITING. It is not billed as a PITCH, just a request from the client that they’d like to see a POV on the brand and some creative work from 3 agencies, we have 30 mins to present. So, a PITCH then…

Allegedly, the owner appointed the first agency to present the business in their meeting. The owner left our meeting after 20 minutes… no sour grapes from us, but is this respecting our time, business or our people?

Second, a very considerate healthcare client following ISBA’s Tissue Pitch process. Multiple routes, to varying degrees of finish, we present three routes from the same strategic platform. A brilliantly professional client team and a tightly run process from start to finish. The pitch, two hours of excitement and genuine debate. A great start to a relationship.

Third, a Government statutory review. A pitch. A proper pitch. Fast strategy session, to an idea in three days, into execution quickly, one route presented. Final pitch time, 30 mins, sure focuses the mind, no time for waffle and makes you cull ideas to the very best. I like it.

There are still kinda pitches, tissue pitches, and pitches proper and everything in between, there is no one size that fits all. If the client respects the time and energy spent by the agency and its staff, that’s a start. If the client pays something towards that cost, even better. A well-aimed thank you and good vibes ‘in the room’ go a long way too.

When all is said and done, it’s up to agencies to be discriminating, we have to say ‘no’ to unacceptable pitch processes. We’ll still all get suckered into kissing the odd frog, but perhaps slightly fewer than we used to?

For full article please head over to The Stable.