Our Professional ‘Guilty’ Pleasure: AMC’s The Pitch

By Kwesi Robertson in Media Strategy on June 14th, 2012

THE BRIEF Ratings be damned…AMC’s The Pitch has me hooked and believe me… it’s not because of the posh eyewear or compelling “creative” pitches. If you aren’t in the know, The Pitch is AMC’s “other” advertising show. The weekly reality show in which two advertising agencies battle to come up with the winning campaign has been battered by lack-luster ratings and snooze-worthy characters but I still hold steadfast that it is a must-see for anyone in the advertising industry, especially if you work at an agency. THE ASSIGNMENT Each episode of The Pitch opens up with mantra that “in the world of advertising, agencies compete to win business. A great campaign can make a career. It all comes down to…The Pitch.” Drama and drum roll ensues. THE DEVELOPMENT The show (which is in its first season) then proceeds to follow a formulaic format where there are five stated stages for each episode (the brief; the assignment; the development; the pitch; the decision). So how (maybe through awesome music) can AMC make this standard process more glamorous then the actual thought and strategy behind these fledging campaign? I remember that there was one episode, in particular, that seemed to be straight out of a brainstorming nightmare. A young copywriter at McKinney proposed an ad about a dating service that would match people based on their breakfast sandwich preferences. This hyped-up copywriter (who is probably looking for another job) didn’t let the bad idea stop there. Oh no, her creative juices were flowing. The whole campaign would end with a couple taking bites out of either end of a Subway footlong. “That’s disgusting,” says their agency’s chief creative office. These awkward brain farts are plentiful and makes you want to immediately hug your Creative team when you realize how brilliant they are. THE PITCH Why I think this show is fascinating is because the role that Creative plays and the line it walks between genius and junk. Creative has this indelible and almost omnipresent presence in each episode, but maybe not always in the real-world.  It’s always great to see how different agencies brainstorm. Whether it’s in a posh all-glass room or utilizing giant-sized post-its…this is where creativity comes to flourish or die. THE DECISION The Pitch has shone a bright light on agencies’ Creative department. Most agencies featured on the show seem to have their Creative department drive the entire agency which I find refreshing but also at times, scary as hell. I’ve come to the conclusion that Creative is advertising’s albatross (if you don’t get the analogy, click here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner). If it doesn’t sell your campaign, it will definitely kill it…no matter how amazing the pitch. So…I would recommend watching The Pitch. Immediately, because I don’t think it will have a second season.