The Pitch, Episode 2: Complete and Utter Garbage

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“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

Trash talk.

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.

Comments

Dropping it strong this week. This show is pretty brutal, glad I'm not the only one suffering.

Please, for the love of all that is good and righteous: MORE OF THESE!!

Also I figured I had the worst taste in the world after 30 minutes of screaming at my television:

TURN FUCKING WASTE INTO FUCKING FUCK? FUCK!!! "WASTE" MAKES ME THINK FECES, NOT ENERGY!!!

Thank you for re-inflating my fragile ego. Please be more brutal next week. :)

Agree completely with your assessment of Ray "The Human Centipede" Johnson. Has there ever existed a more supremely punchable human being? He looks like the bastard offspring of David Cross and the Starchild at the end of "2001." According to a poster on Agency Spy (and we all know how reliable they are), Ray is now working for Leo Burnett. Lucky them.

I thought Doug Hentges came off pretty well. He's been the only remotely likable person on the show thus far. He seemed like a genuinely decent guy swimming in a shark tank. I felt sorry for him that he had to work in such a slime-infested sh*thole as SK+G.

I nearly ruptured my colon when I heard Paul Cappelli say that The Ad Store was the most creative agency in the known universe. How can someone possibly be that delusional?

In closing, I really wish the producers of "The Pitch" would pull back on those super-tight close-ups. Nobody -- but nobody -- looks good with the camera two millimeters from their face. And when you've got faces as hideous as Jerry Kramer or Ray Johnson, the camera should really pull back -- like, say, 10 or 15 miles. Oy gevalt.

I love this show. It makes me feel good about my work the same way "The Nanny" makes me feel good about my parenting skills, or any train wreck of a reality show makes me feel good about my life. Watching episode three now. Obviously I need a beanie and scruffy beard for more productive 24-hr. sequestering brainstorms (I mean, at what agency is this not true?). Although my understanding of a "tissue session" is different from that of the guy from FKM or whatever that company is called. Amazing show. But I have no idea why anyone outside of ad nerds would give a f***. Love Felix's recaps, too. So I can re-live the disasters all over again.

PS-Never give up your phone.

While I enjoyed most of this, I also consider your use of profanity as cliched as anything uttered on the show. Can you make your point, and get your laughs, without the F and C words?

Just asking you to consider.

I love it twenty sumething kissing cunt'ins'!

I know it's the mentality of the field of advertising, because I've worked in said field. Do we need critique peppered with misogynist words and female-adverse insults in order for it to be hip and edgy? I'm fairly certain there are a plethora of ways to be shocking without calling a man a "cunt" to imply that he has the worst qualities possible (you know, like a vagina).

It's no wonder why so many ad campaigns targeted at women fall flat, whether "edgy" or cliché, with this kind of ingrained misogynist attitude pervading the industry like a fart in an elevator. It's not edgy, it just smells bad.

All misogyny aside, "the message and execution stunk more than a yeast infection." is my new favorite analogy.

Anonymous, go ahead and use that expression if you want to appear ignorant.

Yeast infections don't usually have much of a smell, it's BACTERIAL infections that can have a bad odor. So, apparently Felix doesn't really know all that much about vaginal flora, or women, beyond tired clichés – which fits perfectly with his advertising background.

Wow, how quickly we go off topic just because I use the dreaded "C" word. Well, as we're off topic, you have made a few errors that I need to point out, le-sigh.

First, yeast infections are smelly. Sorry if you have one and are trying to defend it, but check it out with any doc. Here's the first source I found, to back up my claim, from WebMd...

"...signs and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are a white cheesy discharge that typically itches and irritates..."

Now, unless you are of the mindset that white cheesy discharges are the kind of things Airwick should be putting out as their next fragrance, you should shut up.

But you also negate your point by saying "usually," which means you admit they do smell, even if not as often as we all know they do.

And finally, and this is the most important point, IT WAS A FUCKING JOKE! Who cares how "accurate" it is if it gets the point across?! If you analyze everything in your life with this level of scrutiny, I'm not surprised you're sat at home alone, nursing your smelly vagina.

There, how was that? Love you le-sigh!

Gross.

I'll keep using that term, and I'm pretty sure the only thing I'll appear as is hilarious. Also, side note, "le-sigh" is a phrase originally used by Pepé Le Pew. Arguably THE most misogynistic character to ever grace children's television.

Le-sigh is a cunt.

Felix's post is legit, Le-sigh is entitled to her view - get over it and back on topic if you don't mind. Gosh.

Felix,

Fine, if you want to be specific, I intentionally included "usually" to represent the times when a yeast and bacteria are both present in a vaginal infection. Bad odor is not a typical yeast infection symptom, period. (ha)

"A discharge accompanying an odor is also one of the yeast infection signs. The odor has been compared to the smell of beer or bread. The discharge may also smell starchy, or even have no odor at all."

Source: Ezine

I will absolutely continue to comment when there is misogynism present within humor. I'm not even answering the "lighten up it's just a joke" defense because that's weak and overplayed. You can be better than that. Maybe you can raise your consciousness a little without losing your edge? As, you know, a challenge to yourself. Your curse-laden style can work just as well without using "cunt" or "bitch" or other female words negatively. If you wouldn't print "fag" as a negative description, don't use "cunt" or "bitch" negatively either... they all come from the same root hatred and fear of feminine qualities.

If you won't listen to me, because I'm female, maybe you'll listen to this guy:

"I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has to got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect till the end"
-Adam MCA Yauch

How dare you invoke the memory of a recently departed rapper to make a point! You, my dear lady, have crossed the line!

What if he called the guy a pussy? Is that better or worse? What about Douche-bag? Are feminine hygiene products off the table as well? We certainly can't call him retarded. What about Dickhead. Will that work? "Smug Dickhead".....Hmm, nope. "Smug Cunt" described him perfectly for me.

recently departed *feminist* rapper.

The whole point of my argument on this thread is that most of advertising is a misogynistic boy-club. I've worked at one of the top agencies, and know others who have been / are at the top of the field. So I know. The author is so immersed in this culture himself, that he can't see it. So, I'm calling it out. Critiquing a show about advertising and using a bunch of misogynist slurs is right indeed. You don't have to listen or change anything, it's your choice. I just want Felix to think a little about what he's writing. Words are important and powerful. MCA knew that, which is why he wrote the lyric above.

I'm going to quote Jessica Valenti's article about MCA's Legacy of Feminism on The Nation site, because I can't link:

"Once you’ve realized that you’re living in a world that believes women are “less than” in every imaginable way, one of the things that can be most frustrating is that very few men get it. You want the people in your life, the men you care about, to understand the awful toll it can take on you. Operating in a world that sees you as less than fully human can be soul crushing—but it’s also incredibly lonely.

When you speak up about any sense of unfairness or injustice, you’re told that you’re overreacting, you’re too angry, too silly—shut up already. It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude to be able to live in this world as a woman, let alone a woman who wants things to change.

And that’s what was so remarkable and emotional about the Beastie Boys’ feminist turnaround. Maybe your father says sexism doesn’t exist and your boyfriend disrespects you. Maybe you have to deal with assholes on the subway who rub up against you every day and laugh when you yell at them. But listening to this band that you love so much say that your pain is real, that the world is fucked up and that they are not going to participate in actions that hurt you anymore because they care about you—it was the overwhelming feeling of being made visible. They were sending a clear message to their female fans: this isn’t okay, we have your back, we’re sorry."

Critiquing a show about advertising and using a bunch of misogynist slurs is *rich indeed.

Oops, typo, but "right" kind of works also.

Ahem, you want to talk Beastie Boys? How about....

Girls - to do the dishes
Girls - to clean up my room
Girls - to do the laundry
Girls - and in the bathroom

They also had to come out and apologize for gay bashing. So I'd be more careful quoting rappers, even if they did just die and were awesome.

And I think you are putting way too much power into the word cunt. I used it because of the harsh way it sounds, not because it's akin to a vagina. Indeed, he looked more like a dick with his bald head. I would have used prick but it's nowhere near as good.

I don't care if you litter your articles with whatever words you want, when/if you write them. But to keep calling me a misogynist for using that word, that's stupid. Especially when in the same article, I call out The Ad Store for the awful work they did on GoDaddy.

Now, can we move on?

I thought the show was about a pitch-off for waste mnmgt.?
I would go with biotech renewable energy...but cunts create waste to!
This was pretty amusing on FunnyIrDie,' Republicans, get out of my Vagina!': http://www.thesfegotist.com/news/national/2012/may/8/republicans-get-my-...

I personally would move on, but I feel more pretentious 2PAC coming on double teaming strong, you have no idea.

Write how you want to write-get a personality & some sharp trick knives? I'm just the stunt model hooked to the spinning wheel. There is a place for all characters believe it or not, not merely just followers.

Good rant Felix. It was the morning laugh I needed. I agree that the ad store had a better idea than SK+G. It had potential and it's amazing that the client did not recognize it. However, the ad store's game needed to be elevated, no doubt.

The one thing that bugs me about this show is that it makes ad peeps look like assholes. It's good for conversations like these though.

As least AMC is getting it right with MadMen!

Our small shop watches this trainwreck of a show religiously- and agree with what Felix is saying- and we've been doing previews and reviews without the profanity. http://thenextwave.biz/category/tnw/the-pitch-on-amc/
So far, the sad thing is although the clients should also be allowed to pick none-of-the-above, they signed up for this too.
Episode 3 had a smarter client- but, a ridiculous brief.
This show is doing damage to our profession- first they take out the fun, then they take out the brains- and what's left?
Waste into wow....

Ladies and Gentlemen...

http://bookofray.com/index.html

oh, boy. lol.

Did SK+G really hit it with their "Manifesto"? Or does it look more like a trash version of this Apple classic? I think they used the memory and feel of an old ad that hits their target audience, the WM Team, and didn't come up with anything new, creative, or mind blowing. I guess if you're going to copy something, might as well be a kick ass ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFEarBzelBs

My writer partner and I were laughing out loud while reading this as we sit annoying the shit out of our online editor. I hope you review more of these as I need another good laugh.

SK+G did their shop no favors exposing what a horrible place it must be to work there and that "cunt" of a creative director...hope he is made partner because I can't imagine anyone else hiring suck a back stabbing ass clown.

How much did you ejaculate after writing this equally bloviated piece of self-inflated pseudo-literary masturbation? You have a blog because nobody gives a shit what you think or write. Can't get a job with an ad agency I see.

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