Call me paranoid

Did a pitch recently to a firm with a good budget but a bad rep for dealing with agencies.

However, the pitch was being run by a consultant and, contrary to my cynical expectation, the client seemed like very nice people. Subject to the inevitable haggling over projected fees, we got through the long list. As they told us the incumbent had made a bit of a stuff-up of the business and wouldn’t be asked to re-tender, we were invited to pitch against two other agencies.

And so, we set to. They gave us an incredibly prescriptive creative brief, but said they wanted something fresh and different, but which would work hard for their money.

We pitched an idea that met their brief and, by using ‘blue-screen’ technique for TV production, we could deliver something different with incredible value.

The pitch seemed to go OK. At least, the pitch consultant seemed to think so. And the CEO expressed real interest in the ‘blue screen’ approach. Something they’d never done or even considered before, apparently.

Fast forward a few days. We are bombed out. Our creative is ‘too different’; I’m probably too ‘head-strong’; and what’s more, the real fee they would have been willing to pay is definitely 2/3rds of what we thought we’d agreed with them…

Fast forward another few days. A suitably shame-faced pitch consultant confesses that the client has ‘always been in discussion with the incumbent behind the scenes’ – and didn’t tell him!

Fast forward a few weeks. The incumbent ‘keeps’ the business. The client launches a new campaign. It’s pretty crap but, guess what, nice ‘blue-screen’ technique.

Make of it what you will.