by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Sucker for Shows about Advertising…
Just saw AMC’s “The Pitch,” a reality show about ad agencies going head-to-head to land an account. Although it contained the usual heavy-editing and over-dramatization of most reality shows, it was fun to second-guess real agencies in action.
- WDCW had the better talent. Their writing was clever, and even their stock-photo selection was funny. And that goes to show that creativity alone doesn’t always win accounts.
- Even if it wins accounts and awards, creativity alone doesn’t always work as marketing. The Subway executives knew that — the “zAMbie” concept was entertaining, but it’s not understandable at first glance. Wouldn’t that be a requirement for morning zombies?
- McKinney nailed the target market with the rapper — and the rapper should get nearly all of the credit. McKinney does deserve some credit for researching and finding a relevant influencer for the target market. Although rap-based commercials targeting young people have been done by everyone, they still work. To round out the concept, McKinney should have also pitched a “Breakfast Wrap” to go with the ad.
- Neither agency talked about the actual product! I kept wondering, when are they going to say what makes Subway sandwiches better and different than the competition? Sure enough, that’s what the Subway execs complained about. Right off the bat, both agencies focused on creating a wild concept that could have been used for ANY restaurant. Hide the Subway logo, and the concepts could have worked for Wienerschnitzel.
- When were the creatives going to eat at Subway? The episode contained an odd segment about the McKinney creative director trying to make breakfast for her kid. I was waiting for her to take him to Subway. Did that scene land on the cutting-room floor? If so, why include this bit at all?
- The agencies needed to think beyond themselves. All their creatives targeted themselves as young professionals or hipsters, who are not morning people, and who think that zombies are a cool way to sell breakfast. I grew up in a working-class town, where young men are wide-awake and heading off to work before 8 am. They’re hitting up fast food because it’s quick, cheap, easy, and tastes good, not because they’re morning zombies.
- It was a lose-lose situation for WDCW. The bigger agency in L.A. is expected to slaughter a mid-size agency in North Carolina. As the underdog, McKinney stood to gain even if they had lost the competition.
I think the ultimate problem is that the agencies tried too hard to look creative for a television audience, instead of doing good work for a client. As a result, both ideas were off pitch.