‘Mad Men’ would not be crazy about ‘The Pitch’

After a 17 month hiatus AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ returns this Sunday in its regular 10PM slot. AMC has also created another new show which debuts with a ‘sneak preview’ April 8th at 11PM (right after ‘Mad Men’) called ‘The Pitch’ – Stuart Elliot of the New York Times covered this in his excellent column on Monday – http://nyti.ms/GHuVXI.

The premise is that a number of real-life advertising agencies compete to win the business of clients such as Subway, Waste Management, and Frangelico to name a few. Apparently the successful highlighting of brands on shows such as ‘Undercover Boss’ has emboldened brands to continue offering themselves up for deeper dives into their collective corporate cultures.

Fifteen agencies agreed to appear – all of them are small or midsize independent shops. The larger agencies have all declined as well as a number of notable smaller ones. Were our agency given the opportunity to participate I’d quickly decline as well. If I were a betting man I suspect fictional Don Draper of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce would also decline. In fact I recall a terrific scene from season 3 where Don and Conrad Hilton have a meeting where Mr. Hilton asks Don for advertising advice.

I’m Donald Draper.”
{Reminds him they met}
“We have, haven’t we?”
“We had a drink, of course.”
“I can’t believe you’re Conrad Hilton.”
“Don.”
“I’m fine.”
“I really should have known that.”
“Well, they don’t do that for everyone.”
“How did you find me?”
“Well, here I am. What can I do for you?”
{Mr. Hilton asks Don for advice on advertising}
“I think you wouldn’t be in the Presidential suite right now if you worked for free.”
“Connie, this is my profession, what do you want me to do?”

I can understand the attraction of having your agency get exposure as well as an opportunity to show off the kind of thinking that goes on every day at marketing and advertising agencies. However, it is a very slippery slope to offer high level strategic thinking and marketing concepts for free in the hope that your agency will stand out and then be hired. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Clients really get a big benefit in shows like ‘The Pitch’ in getting free consulting that they may or not choose to avail themselves of, and there’s not much protection for a version of that idea being employed by the client with no restitution to the agency that came up with the idea.

This has been going on in the advertising industry for years and it’s not likely to stop or even slow down.

I’m not mad about the idea at all. Would your agency choose to participate or pass?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Advertising, Marketing stuff and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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