We’re now 0 for 5 on picking the “winning agency” on “The Pitch.”
However, the viewer poll agrees with us once again. 61% chose The Ad Store over Kovel/Fuller’s 38% to win the Frangelico account.
If you watch the online “Why they won” segment on the AMC site the Chairman/CEO of Campari America Gerry Ruvo says “we really wanted to work with the company that came with the best creative.” He then went on to say that “We thought that the Ad Store did good strategic work”. At least this time, the client explicitly said that they went with the flashier agency rather than the agency with the best strategy.
The best marketing Frangelico will get out of this show was the show itself. The problem is that the viewership is tiny, and generally the viewers don’t agree with the client choice in any episode. During this episode, Frangelico got exposure tying it in with better known products from Campari America, including SKYY vodka, Wild Turkey and the company namesake Campari.
The reality is, Frangelico is a brand needing a major makeover, not just a campaign. The brief presented here was narrow and limiting to begin with; women aged 25-44, defined by the brand manager as “Molly.” The problem was, the brand manager was defining herself as the ideal target and trusting her judgement on what was best for the brand without listening to the strategy that the Ad Store presented.
Maybe they should be married?
Maura McGinn, the “Global Head of Spirits” for Campari America proved that she was in over her head when she was impressed by the sideshow fake phone call in the presentation which she called “the little gem of a moment, when Mary presented… in the middle of the pitch, Mary pretended to call me” - really? That beat the strategic positioning of Legend, and “Think again” with it’s Renaissance reference as well as the dead on the money realization that your bottle looks like Mrs. Butterworth’s? A simple Google search proves that people were talking about this years ago, including this post from 2009)
Once again, we saw two different agency cultures and approaches. This time, Kovel/Fuller recognized The Ad Store’s Cappelli and Richard Sabean as competent competition and there was a level of respect shown for the opposition. Big egos are the norm in this business, but some are earned while others imagined. Even though many in the business cringed when Cappelli said The Ad Store was the best in the world in Episode 2, most would agree he ate SK+G’s lunch with his brilliant “Trash Can” line and positioning. In this episode he also built a strong strategic foundation for a potentially long running campaign putting Frangelico into a class of its own. Unfortunately, the client just didn’t get it.
It was refreshing to watch The Ad Store go out and informally test and survey women in the target first with Sabean’s wife’s firm “WomanK!nd” (which will be on The Pitch in a future episode) and when Paul and his partner, Steven Crutchfield, were marketing their own products from “Villa Cappelli” in a shop.
Once again, the dramatization and the editing by Studio Lambert was designed to mislead the audience, although from a pure strategic sense we were sure The Ad Store had won, we knew when we saw smiles in the presentation of their pitch that they were doomed. If there were two things we could change about this show, one would be for a pitch consultant to help supervise and the second would be to tell the story like a documentary.
There should also be the very real option to say “no thanks to both agencies” just like in the real world, but in this case, The Ad Store was the better agency for the client once again.
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.
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