The Pitch, AMCs new advertising reality show, pits two agencies against each other to win a new piece of business.
Reality? I don’t think so.
Real new business pitches usually offer remarkably poorer odds. Here are some recent personal examples:
- I was told by one business inviting my participation, that 17 others would also be submitting proposals.
- In another, my company learned – after the fact – that we had been competing against 24 other agencies.
That’s reality folks.
Ad agencies everywhere are hungry for business, and Request for Proposals (the formal process) now find interest from agencies of all sizes. Technology has removed geographic proximity as a requirement, meaning coast-to-coast – and even international – participation is becoming more common. So the numbers keep creeping up.
A full, formal process doesn’t happen in a week like it does on this show. From the initial Expression of Interest, to the Q & A’s, to the heavily compliant RFP document – sometimes with requirement for creative and strategic ideas – to the short-listed agencies doing in-person presentations, getting to the final three can take months and is more like Survivor than The Pitch.
But this is where the client can step in and manage the process.
RFPs are open to whoever wants to participate. But perhaps businesses should implement a cap on the number of entries they receive. Or report back to every agency on the number of Expressions of Interest they have received, so each agency can better assess the odds going in.
I always ask, but not every company will tell.
No business – not a single business on earth – requires 18, let alone 25, participants to vie for their contracts. That just shows the failing of the RFP process in respect to the agencies.
25-to-1 odds? That’s not The Pitch. That’s The Bachelor. And we all know how those relationships turn out.