Monday, 19 July 2010

Pitch battles, part 2.

For the client, the pitch process is, on the face of it, little more than a series of free lunches, booze-ups and jollies punctuated by bouts of ego-massage, brown-nosing and barely-concealed bribery.

Fucking great, eh?

The first chemistry meeting of my latest search for a new agency was a balls-on humdinger, and resulted in this restaurant review. It was a classic of its kind from a big agency: light on detail, big on booze. Obviously, it set a high standard. I know it set a high standard because I can't remember anything about it at all, and I woke up the day after in my clothes, halfway up my stairs, with a sore knob and a jester's hat on.

With that quality of adland schmoozing fresh in my mind, next up for a chemistry meeting was the incumbent agency, Steve. (I don't mean some ironically-astute, uber-cool outfit from some funky shithole in East London who thought it would be funny to call an agency 'Steve'. I mean it was actually a bloke called Steve.)

Steve has a Mac and a bedroom. That's his agency. He has no receptionista with Euro-model looks and spiffing bristolas. He has no iconic film memorabilia in his lobby. He has no creative director who once stood next to Ridley Scott in a lift but passes it off as a 'collaborative project'. He has no board of directors you only see when you threaten to move the account. In short, he's a fucking amateur.

My hopes weren't high before the meeting, but when we sat down in his kitchen and his fucking syphilitic cat kept trying to hawk furballs into my shoe while I drank THE WORST CUNTING TEA I'VE EVER TASTED, I knew this would be a tough afternoon. So it proved.

He began by showing me pictures of his kids, of which he seemed to have about fucking forty. At least three of them looked like potatoes with mouths and one, whom he described as 'my little princess', would have no trouble getting work as a part-time fucking gargoyle. Then there was one - I shit you not - that looked like a cunting turnip with glasses.

That killed an hour. Then I got his wedding photos, some 'glamour' pictures he'd taken of his wife back when she only had the six chins and, most fuck-numbingly awful of all, his paintings. Let me tell you, I don't know much about art, but I know what I hate: all of his paintings. Even the ones of naked women.

I was beginning to wish he'd die at this point, but I'm not a total cunt-bucket, so I tactfully said, 'Look, Steve. I'm not saying you've got no chance of winning this pitch, but if you DO win it, it'll be because every other single agency in the world has been blown up, closed down or turned into a massage parlour. So why don't you shut you fucking bean-hole and give me a bell when hell freezes over or Madonna discovers her modesty.'

I think that was fair.

Once he'd stopped blubbing and hanging onto my leg and self-harming and all that nonsense, he opened the front door and let me go.

The lesson for you, my fellow marketing professionals, is this: there's more to an agency than the work. Yes, Steve can churn out the same shit a big agency will for a fraction of the price. But the marketing isn't as important as the marketer. We are visionaries and experts, and we deserve to sit in nice agency offices, have nice agency lunches and be given nice agency blowjobs. The price of these extras will be charged to our employers - and so it fucking should be.

It's the way I have always worked. And it's the least I expect.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!





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