The Pitch, Episode 2: Complete and Utter Garbage
“This is it guys…this is where we find out what it’s all about.”
Within 30 seconds, I figured this was going to be a bigger pile of horseshit than the previous episode. I was not disappointed. Cliché after cliché. Homily after tired homily. It was like these guys swallowed the Big Book Of Advertising.
Oh, it’s definitely “dog eat dog out there.” Isn’t it always fellas?
And “we need big ideas.” As opposed to the small ones your whole team were planning on creating, right?
Anyway, I know the producers edit this show with the goal of creating “good TV” not “real TV” so I take it all with a pinch of salt. But still, they said it. Christ.
I think it was when Paul Cappelli, of The Ad Store, uttered the words “we are the most creative agency in the country, if not the world” that I lost the plot and had to contain my explosive laughter. I mean, really. Not W&K? Not Goodby? Nope, it’s The Ad Store.
What have they done that made you go “fuck me, that’s shit hot!” recently? Or ever?
Well, they were the ones responsible for the puerile GoDaddy.com wardrobe malfunction ads, which led to even more crass and pointless titfests. So there’s that. There’s nothing clever about tits. They do create a splash, but so would my knob if I whipped it out in a courtroom on Superbowl Sunday.
Anyway, if The Ad Store was brazenly confident, SK+G were equally so, but with one major difference. The entire place is filled with egomaniacal bullshit artists. And they have two creative leads working on the same job. Clever.
While The Ad Store went straight to work, the dipshits from SK+G started Googling their competition. WTF?!
“Oh guys, we may have to bring our A game, these guys have done some shit.”
Does anyone ever do anything less, unless they want to lose the pitch on purpose? For me, that was indicative of the type of agency SK+G clearly is – overworked, paranoid, lacking true confidence (not the strutting peacock dancing they did on cam) and a basic lack of understanding about pitching. You do your best work; fuck the competition. Even if you’re up against a one-man shop from Leesburg, Virginia, you better bring it.
So, after all that crap, and some drama from the SK+G team involving arguments and microphones, the real work began.
Once again, we were treated to some real pearls of advertising wisdom:
“Be edgy. Viral. Avoid clichés.”
Oh shit. Really? What about all those great clichés that have won pitches in the past, can’t we use them? And edgy, that’s a great idea! Fuck, edgy is as cool as Ice T’s balls!
Even the camera crew started picking up on it, by showcasing close-ups of empty pizza boxes. The old “they are working really hard” cliché.
Anyway, SK+G had some ideas. I use ideas loosely. They included:
Pick It Up America
Turn Waste Into WOW (the awful idea they end up going with, I shit you not).
It was when some blonde vacuum threw out “Trashformers” that I knew we were in the presence of real genius. Bill Bernbach, eat your dead heart out.
Incidentally, the WOW line came from someone I like to call “smug cunt.”
Is that too harsh? Nah.
He already had a face you wanted to kick with a nailed boot. Then he opened his fucking mouth. He’s everyone you’ve ever hated in your whole fucking life rolled into one miserable body.
Yes, I hated Ray Johnson from the get-go.
I tried to look him up on the SK+G website, but he’s not there. So either he quit, he’s too new for a profile, or he’s too annoying to take out in public. Either way, this guy is slime from the bottom of advertising’s reject pile. He actually made me like the other guy, Doug Hentges, which made me hate him even more.
Over at The Ad Store, it was easy to see they were on a much better track. They had a communication strategy, not just a lame tagline with no legs. And after a lot of back and forth, the big idea was elegant – trash can. I liked it. It’s not exactly Just Do It, but it’s simple enough to catch on and, with the right execution, it could be great.
But the bickering between Cappelli and his beaten-down AD was distracting, they were like some married couple.
Then it turns out they are, almost, so that explains the bitch fits. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say, but that’s quite the dynamic. They say never screw the crew, but if it works for these guys, more power to them. Whatever. After late nights (and early mornings from SK+G…they do love being a sweat shop) the work was done and ready to present.
Cappelli and The Ad Store went first. It was understated, in the same way that white is an understated version of black. I mean Paul, dude, pick up the energy a bit. He read the VO live to the spot they’d put together, and the small elements of guerrilla he had in the presentation were fine. But this was a bit lackluster to say the least. The Waste Management plebs seemed fine with it, apart from one matronly cow who chimed in “so what have you learned about us over this last week?” or something like that. Self-serving clients, they just love to hear about themselves.
SK+G, their pitch was awful. The work, it was ok in places. They used “cutting-edge” snaptags to make posters come to life, but the message and execution stunk more than a yeast infection. Sadly, SK+G possess some snazzy graphics software and a lot of razzle-dazzle presentation tools to give their work some lift, despite the cruddy “WOW” idea.
But it was the man behind that idea, smug cunt, who almost fucked everything up for them. He decided to talk over the main presenter whenever he could.
Everyone I know was screaming “shut the fuck up” at the screen. He didn’t.
At the end of the day, you know what happened. SK+G won, because they had pretty pictures, snazzy gimmicks and are willing to work 24/7 for Waste Management.
The Ad Store, they had a better idea, and it could have gone places, but they just didn’t blow it out enough. Clients like Waste Management can’t image that shit, they need everything wrapped in a bow before they get it. And Cappelli should have known that.
I’m not as irate as I was at the end of episode 1, but it still pisses me off. I suspect the work that wins these pitches will never be the work that I want to win.
Maybe I should stick to watching the Joy of Painting instead.
Felix is a site contributor, ranter and curmudgeon for The Denver Egotist. He’s been in the ad game a long time, but he’s still young enough to know he doesn’t know everything. If he uses the f-bomb from time-to-time, forgive him. Sometimes, when you're ranting, no other word will do. In his spare time, he does not torture small animals. He's been known, on occasion, to drink alcohol by the gallon. Do as he says, not as he does.