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.
In this episode of The Pitch we have a women’s fashion retailer based in NYC as the client:
C. Wonder is a shopping destination that transports women into a world of luxury and surprises. Created to deliver brightness to every corner of life, C. Wonder offers an entirely new retail experience: clothing, accessories and home decor products of outstanding quality and astonishing value in a setting that excites and inspires.
And two New York agencies battling for the assignment: an innovative, thoughtful disruptive campaign. The client says “I want you to give me what the girl who walks into my store wants” in the preview, which already hints of a confrontational style client.
Fashion is fickle business- that lends itself to bold, stunk driven advertising. Ogilvy famously added intrigue to the Hathaway shirt brand with a guy with an eye-patch, Kenneth Cole and Benneton have both done in your face politically incorrect advertising, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie have both been questioned for taste with campaigns that resembled kiddie porn and George Lois put Tommy Hilfiger on the map by comparing his fashion to the well known greats. Fashion is THE business for agencies that can come up with the so called “big idea” and present it confidently.
In this episode we have WomanKind which we met briefly in Episode 5 for Frangelico when the Ad Store guys went over to visit to test their “sweet spot” concept with women- who quickly told them that it’s a feminine hygiene product. The ECD of the Ad Store is married to the CEO of Womankind. You can follow them on Twitter @womankind A perfectly competent agency, like Muse of the last episode who was just a multi-cultural shop, they wrap their agency as a specialist in advertising to women- a one trick pony. Even their tagline is “profit from the wisdom of women” which should mean they’re great for this assignment- only the client isn’t a woman- it’s a man- Mr. Burch, who doesn’t seem like he’ll be an easy guy to work with.
DIGO Brands is the abbreviation of DiMassimo Goldstein which has been around since 1996. This agency has no problem with ego, their site exudes chutzpa with lines like this:
Growth is driven. Working side-by-side with a who’s who of world-changing entrepreneurs, we’ve learned that driving change is crucial to growth. Those in the driver’s seat at ambitious organizations appreciate our dashboard of growth-driving services. They rely on us to explore and chart new frontiers of technology, media and culture through Brand-Driven Acquisition, Direct and Digital Marketing, Innovation, Product Development, Customer Marketing and Retention, Brand-Driven Conversations.
They quote the magazine “Fast Company” on their home page calling them “One of the foremost world changing agencies” and they, along with Womankind have no problems beating their own drums about being on “The Pitch”- but, these guys give us a bit more than most have with their own opinion of the whole media circus and industry disdain that comes with the show in their post about the show which is worth reading. They’ve climbed a bit on the fame ladder with their “Tappening” campaign- to make consumers think twice about drinking bottled water. Looking though their client list/work- we spot some campaigns we’ve seen and lots of clients we know. In the battle of the agencies- these guys have done great work for clients that Womankind could only dream about. Comparing portfolios- it’s DIGO is Goliath and Womankind is David- without a slingshot. You can follow Mark DiMassimo as the voice of DIGO @MarkDimassimo on Twitter- or read his blog”@speed blog” http://www.digobrands.com/go/ which currently is throwing 404 errors.
After last weeks first correct prediction we think we’re on a roll- mostly based on the one line out of the preview where Mr. Burch is asking if the creatives are in the pitch conference and it looks like Womankind is at the wrong end of that stare down. Add in that these women don’t seem to have the kind of spines or egos to stand up to Mr. Made In China Burch- which should be no problem for the boys team at DIGO - we’re calling it for DIGO, and it should be by knockout.
JDRF is another string of initials- it’s not even an acronym, since the “Juvenile” part of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is no longer even medically relevant. The foundation recognized they needed to change- but instead of a total makeover to something relevant to Type 1 Diabetes- they went the 4 letter route into obscurity. Which is probably why they opted to go on The Pitch- hoping to help fix their awareness problem.
They should have paid attention to the March of Dimes- which originally was the “National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis”- to fight polio. Thankfully, an entertainer coined the phrase “March of Dimes” for their annual walk- a take on the “March of Time” newsreels- and the organization had a new name- since within 30 years, the foundation had whipped Polio- and they moved their mission to birth defects. Read more in this Forbes article.
Note- they didn’t become NFFIP- or some such.
But here we have JDRF asking for a rally cry to help end Type One Diabetes- or at least help people who have it live longer. They’ve been pretty successful, since now a majority of people with Type 1 are adults - since it no longer kills the juveniles off before they became adults.
Had the assignment been to do a rebrand - come up with a new way to communicate the mission, this episode would have probably been a lot more interesting. Of the two agencies, Bozell (not the famous Bozell & Jacobs of NY- but the new Bozell of Omaha) was the bigger agency with the can do attitude, with the exception of Scott, the whiner, head of social something or other. As always, the editors love to create characters out of the contrarians- not that he was entirely wrong, he was just not very participative. Muse on the other hand came out of the brief expecting to fail- or not connect- or not have chemistry which is too bad, because they obviously can do work at a much higher level than what we saw in the show.
Once again we see the more that’s presented, the better the chance at winning. But, this time, as we actually predicted for once, Bozell won and deserved it. Not the “Be the voice of one” was super strong- despite their extensive support materials, but compared to the work Muse presented which looked worse than the local community college design students work. It also failed to respond to the specification of a “rally cry”- people aren’t going to chant “One less prick, One less prick” and have people say- oh, yeah, it’s time to donate to JDRF.
Yes, we know this is TV and people say stupid things on camera, but Jo Muse handed this competition over to Bozell after the brief, convinced that his “multi-cultural” centric firm wouldn’t be able to connect with the client or the target. Had he spent some money on bringing in some free lance creative teams or worked on the campaign more himself- instead of hiring a presentation coach, he may have done better - oh, and not presented a board with bad stock photos and too much type.
We can’t hate on Muse though, they did take this opportunity to send a powerful message to the ad community watching this show or reading about it with their “white space” :30 that they paid to air in select markets- it was right on the money. The only time most advertisers find minorities worth an effort- is if they want their money, not to hire in the field. The spot was clean, simple and powerful- had “one less prick” been that good- they’d have won in a minute.
It was hard discussing this episode because it was so boring, so our video may not be as fun as the others, but we did enjoy having Tonya Lee Carrie Fancher in for the brief- she’s one of our resources when we need to put together street teams or do field marketing in the region.
After this episode, our team wasn’t that excited about episode 7, so we’ve been delayed on the predictions post, but we’ll try to get it up before the show tomorrow.
UPDATE: Here’s the full audio podcast of our review:
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.
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