Our last prediction post. One more episode to go, at least until season 2 (just kidding). We may be the minority here, but we have stuck with this show for its entirety. For those keeping tabs, we have been 2 for 7 with our predictions.
Onto our analysis - the final episode features Bandujo Advertising (?not on Twitter?) and Jones Advertising@jonesads competing for Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The Autograph Collection is one of the biggest accounts on the show:
The Autograph Collection is a remarkable group of upper upscale and luxury independent hotels. These iconic properties are located in dynamic gateway cities and preferred destinations worldwide. Each one is unique, one of a kind and with its own distinct perspective.
There’s only thirty-four of these boutique hotels in the hippest cities across the globe. According to the teaser, the brief is to build awareness for the Autograph Collection. Marriott has been expanding this relatively new luxury line of hotels (started in 2010) by acquisition or marketing agreements of designer hotels across the globe. They hope to have 60 by years end. The room rates are generally premium and a big part of Marriott’s rewards program. Marriott is attracting hotel owners to join in this nameplate by not enforcing strict brand rules- allowing local hotelier visionaries to have access to an international marketing and booking system, while keeping their unique character intact.
From watching the teaser, not that we trust any of the editing of the show or the teasers, this episode looks to have a lot of drama. In our office, we consider drama to be the enemy of creativity, so don’t expect brilliance from either shop in the whirlwind 1 week prep time frame.
Reviewing each agency’s website, they both have plugs for The Pitch. Bandujo features it prominently on the top of their site while Jones has a subtle post about it in their news section. Jones appears to focus on video and production in their portfolio and with a lot of Seattle based clients. They have an adorable ad for PetSmart. Bandujo draws New York-based companies, and have a few public service announcement ads that are shockinglyeffective.
Neither agency seems to be particularly web-savvy on their own, with little searchable content. Jones has a twitter account that’s been mostly ignored, Bandujo doesn’t seem to have one at all. Budujo has two “partner” firms- one a digital shop and the other is an interior designer which is a bit different, but may help with hooking into the hoteliers. They’ve also done work for Conde Naste- and Disney Vacation club, hinting at a bit more hospitality/lifestyle awareness.
Would either of these agencies be first choice of a luxury hotel brand? Probably not. DIGO from episode 7 had worked with Hard Rock, and there were probably other agencies that I’d trust more from the series with this account. McKinney had Audi for a few years, The Ad Store’s Paul Cappelli is pretty worldly and did well on his two appearances to those of us in the industry. As we’ve said all along, a good agency search consultant would be a huge plus to this show, along with giving the agencies a bit more time to develop their pitches.
For our prediction, we’re going to go with Bandujo. From a review of their work they seem to be better suited for Marriott as well as being a NY firm for a client in Bethesda Maryland. That being said, we haven’t had the best record of predicting these episodes.
Considering we actually liked episode 7, here’s to hoping that this final episode is the best one of the season. Look for our post show review to be posted by Tuesday night.
The upcoming episode of The Pitch features Muse Communications and Bozell as the agencies working on a pitch for client, JDRF that’s used to stand for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation- but they broadened their brand to drop the Juvenile to expand their appeal- and changed their name to the meaningless initials making sure to make the brand meaningless, you can read their excuse for their poor branding on their site.
If the show had viewers, there would probably be some controversy surrounding Muse’s cpot that will appear during the episode to those that watch it over the air on AMC (that means no one watching it on iTunes like us, or on torrents, etc or over on Sky Atlantic where the Brits seem to think the show would be better with brit firms instead of those crass, craftless yanks (from various twitter comments).
The Muse spot is called “White Space”.
The spot points out that, so far, The Pitch has been primarily white people talking to other white people. Read the video description:
As the only diverse-segment agency featured in AMCs “THE PITCH,” the men and women of Muse saw an opportunity to amplify the ongoing conversation about the need for more diversity in the advertising industry.
And here’s what we’re talking about — the excuses, the empty intentions and the quiet arrogance that allows for old white men to sit around a table with young white men and feel that everything is as it should be.
Yes, we have diverse-segment agencies, which come with diverse-segment budgets and diverse-segment control over creative. And despite all the challenges we face, our work continues to shine.
But understand this: Saying you want to do more about diversity is not the same as getting something done.
And we say to those who have the power to change the face of this industry — the time to do what’s right is always right now.
Muse plans to air the ad on TV during the episode on Sunday
An advertising agency that is to be featured on the AMC reality competition series “The Pitch” plans to run a commercial during the episode, but not on behalf of a client.
Rather, the agency, Muse Communications, which is led by an African-American, Jo Muse, will devote the spot to a frank discussion of the subject of diversity in the ad industry.
We hope they got the space cheap, because the ratings are zip.
The Muse About Manifesto
It’s a bold move by Muse to stake a claim about diversity in a show where the “creative” is supposed to be king. How AMC and Studio Lambert feel about this might be interesting, but the reality is the lack of diversity in advertising is our industries dirty little secret. We’re a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business- which is a diversity classification by the Federal Government- which “requires 3% participation” on every government contract- and yet, we’ve only had a few inquiries in over 14 years of being listed on CCR (soon to be SAM)- and oddly enough, one was from Bozell, when they were still in NYC and big. We’re also eligible for SBA HUBzone contracts- an SBA classification for businesses in “Historically Underutilized Business Zones” but it hasn’t generated a contract either.
Could the early release of this spot and the PR around it be an indication that Muse didn’t win? Trying to deflect the reason they lost? At least a few on our staff think maybe, but comparing sites gives us some other insights.
There are differences between Culver City CA based Muse @muse_USA and Bozell of Omaha NE @Bozell. Reviewing their work, Muse has a handful of big-time clients. Their website features a number of big-budget commercials for clients such as Honda and Wells Fargo which feature cutting-edge special effects and camera techniques. They appear to be the larger agency, and they aren’t worried about SEO with their Flash based site. Bozell, based in Omaha now- they bought the brand after one of the major holding companies did their Moby Dick moves and swallowed a Mad Ave stalwart, appears to have smaller clients. One of the most interesting of them is Letter-Photo, a company that lets you create custom framed sayings with sleek black and white photographs. Muse’s work is a bit more refined in execution, but they are also dealing with larger clients with larger budgets. On Twitter, Bozell has been tweeting for a while- Muse seems to have just discovered the twitterverse, not a good sign.
We’re picking Bozell as the winners. We haven’t been right yet, either in our predictions posts or when we stop the show right before “the call”- best indication of who will win is whichever agency has the problems in their presentation in the edit, sends the “rookie” in (ringer or not) or shows the client frowning or not responding. But we don’t feel too bad; judging by the “Who Should Have Won?” Polls on AMC’s website, post-show audiences generally prefer the loser.
Steven Crutchfield from The Ad Store was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us regarding his agency’s involvement with AMC’s The Pitch. Crutchfield was featured in episode 2 of the show, and will be featured in episode 5 that will be airing Sunday.
How authentic was the show?
Everything you saw was real. Nothing was scripted or staged. The most we’d do anything “staged” was helping the crew get the right kind of exit or entrance shot when we were coming and going from the agency. You know, so they could have one camera inside, then be able to cut to the outside to see us lock up, or what have you. They asked us a bit just to include them in meetings and make sure they were aware if we were having a meeting as to when and where it was so they could be sure to be there. That probably pertains much more to big agencies, but it was still applicable to us as well.
Do the participating ad agencies get compensated for being on the show?
Again, because it is real, the agency is not compensated. They did help cover travel for two people to the Pitch.
How complete was the brief? Was there solid research provided? Were you able to have any choice in the client?
The brief was pretty complete in both of our cases, with the client having provided solid research. You only have about a week, and both agencies are filmed at the same time. You have no say in the client (again, all “real”). The week (which is not normal) is due I’m sure to help with the entertainment value (pressure makes for interesting TV) and cost of production (only have to pay to have crew at some place for a week). And agencies are hardly ever briefed at the same time.
How did the Ad Store end up with 2 episodes?
You’d have to ask the producers why we ended up with two episodes. I’d like to think it was because we were entertaining.
Have you been recognized after being on the show? Has it brought more work to the firm?
We’ve gotten lots of fans from the show. It has been surprising and fun to see so much passion about the idea. It was surprising and fun to see so much passion about the idea. The show hasn’t really changed anything about us. Again, it was a “documentary” really of us. So, for us, nothing’s changed. Hopefully can get some business out of it, but we’ll see.
Do you think this show is helping the advertising profession?
Not sure if the show is helping the advertising field. I think it’s pretty accurate and shows the reality of dealing with an unknown client and frustration that happen along the way. I think for big agencies, the show isn’t such a good idea, and it’s why you don’t see them on the show. It reveals there really is no reason to have so many people on your business. It also reveals that there is no “secret sauce” that agencies claim. It all comes down to who the people are who are working on your business. Their minds, their inspiration and their creativity solving problems for the client. An agency can’t mass produce that sort of thing.
The show hasn’t really changed anything about us. Again, it was a “documentary” really of us. So, for us, nothing’s changed.
For those in the industry, a Liquor account provides the opportunity for advertising in it’s purest form: reinvention of the old into the new and the rejuvenation of stodgy into sexy. It’s also a product where the power of the brand is all consuming; either your customers feel the brand represents them, their image, their personal taste, or not.
Face it, you’re not going to win sales with “It gets you just as drunk for a nickle less.” Liquor is sophisticated, dangerous, alluring and grown up. Lines like “tastes great, less filling” or three frogs saying your company’s name doesn’t necessarily speak to the sleek bohemian crowd who stock their bars with commodity liquors to make mixed drinks. One of the best examples of how an agency took a spirit brand to new levels was Chiat/Day with their game changing campaign for Absolut Vodka, where the bottle became a piece of art and the pinnacle of taste.
All this bar talk ultimately brings us to Frangelico. Their packaging looks like it came out of a 17th century monastery (it’s supposed to) and is flavored with hazelnuts (which came from monks in the North of Italy). This is a product that needs to establish its place in the market and find a new audience, so their PR department chose a hail-mary: “The Pitch” for a paid one hour commercial with drama thrown in. Looking over their existing mediocre ads it’s no surprise they are looking for a new agency. Take a look at this video, for example:
Hazelnut liqueurs aren’t something you buy with the frequency of vodka, rum, beer or wine. They are something special that you typically drink in small quantities or mix into fancy drinks with chocolate swirls and exotic toppings. By Frangelico’s own account, their product is a mixer, one that benefits from being combined with things like coffee. Considering American coffee culture is booming, there is an opportunity to grow the market for Frangelico with young connoisseurs. If only coffee shops and ice cream stores in the US could toss booze into their product lines like in Europe without the license from the State Frangelico would really be in business…
The assignment seems simple enough. The preview video talks about building audience with females, ages 25-44. They’ve named her Molly.
Looking over the sites: Kovel/Fuller has The Pitch all over their site, including two teaser videos.
And one that defies all reason:
As for the Ad Store, we’ve already gotten to know them in episode 2 where they had the right campaign but ended up losing. At the end of that show, they told us that the Ad Store would live to see another day because they’ve landed a big account. Could Frangelico be that account? Our guess is: yes! Paul Cappelli, the ECD of the Ad Store has proven to us that he understands the power of a simple line to sell an idea. Paul lives in the world of the big idea. The Ad Store still hasn’t put “The Pitch” all over their site or wasted energy on self promotion. They appear to get down to business and get the job done.
However, our predictions have gone 0 for 4 on the client picks so far, so if you’re using this to make book then you should probably bet on the other guys.
One thing we can almost guarantee is that this season will be the first and last for “The Pitch” in its current configuration. The formula they are using to edit this program is killing off the audience faster than these pitches that are being produced. Ad Age reports viewership is almost non-existent.
However, we will be watching on Monday morning, and as always we’ll be making a video review. Cheers to the Ad Store, hopefully Frangelico will buy into the big idea people.
BooneOakley's Staff in Episode 4 of The Pitch on AMC - Image from AMC
The upcoming episode of AMC’s The Pitch features Conversation from New York vs BooneOakley from Charlotte, NC with Popchips as the client. Popchips, who was #4 in Forbes’ Most Promising Companies list, is a snack company that creates “popped” chips rather than fried or baked. They also have some big name investors, such as Ashton Kutcher, Sean “Diddy” Combs, David Ortiz, and Jillian Michaels. Even with these big-time backers, it’s no surprise that Popchips has turned to a reality show for their marketing needs - the company is in need of some positive marketing after Kutcher’s controversial ad involving him dressed up as an Indian named Raj (with full “brownface” makeup).
Taking a look at both agency sites, the differences are vast. BooneOakley takes an oversimplified and quirky approach. The website focuses on their work rather than themselves. In fact, the only self-promotion on the whole site is one short paragraph from the about us page on the site:
BooneOakley, founded in 2000, is an award-winning, globally recognized advertising and digital agency with a client roster that has included HBO, Bojangles’, MTV, State Farm, Ruby Tuesday, CarMax, Mizuno and more. Recent accolades include Ad Age’s “Southeast Small Agency of the Year,” Cannes Gold Cyber Lion, SXSW, Webbys and Clios. We were also featured in “Google Creative Canvas” and The One Show’s “Best of The Digital Decade.”
Conversation’s site is a bit more flashy and much more complex (read: hard to navigate). They give the impression of being the bigger agency with bigger clients. Their team page features quirky photos of the members of the company - something that the previous winners FKM and SK+G both feature on their site (right down to the rollover animation).
As for our prediction of who will be the victor in this episode, we’re putting our money on BooneOakley. Looking at their work, it is all a little off beat and quirky and should fit right in with Popchips marketing style. Another clue is the fact that BooneOakley plugs the show (albeit subtly), where as Conversation doesn’t appear to do so on their blog. Whatever the outcome, this may be the biggest mismatch of the series so far agency wise.
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