The Pitch Season 2, Episode 3. Square Trade.
Another week, another two agencies come into the ring to duke it out. This time, it was the turn of Mischievious Studios and Heavenspot to compete for the business. And the business…SquareTrade – a tech warranty company.
I’m not going to bother with the usual, in-depth over-analysis of the two agencies competing. The last thing we need is another cease and desist (per my post on Episode Two).
What I will say is that Heavenspot came across as the grown ups, and Mischievious Studios were desperate to be seen as anything but. “No one here at Mischievious Studios is older than 26.” That’s seen as a plus. Luke Sullivan is a corpse to these guys. They want to be the upstarts. The viral kings. In fact, that’s what they do. Viral videos. Kind of.
Jimmy Kimmel’s “twerking fire” is a true viral video creation. Commercial Kings (Nope, Chuck Testa) know how to do great viral. The stuff these guys do is cheesy, poorly acted, over acted, campy and blatantly obvious. Take a look at their site and see how many “viral” videos you actually recognize. Oh, they also said “we don’t need to sell, we need to entertain.” Jesus H. Christ. Throw that one out in the pitch, I dare you.
Once again, we get to the client brief. The SquareTrade meeting was the usual bollocks. A lot of peacocking and dick measuring from all involved. A Mischievious creative “accidentally” dropped his phone in water while has was washing windows (what?) the night before, and brought it to the meeting in a jar of rice. That was about as genuine as Dolly Parton’s cleavage.
It turns out that SquareTrade doesn’t want something advertisingy. None of that crap. No ads. They want the real love of their customers to be encapsulated. And a platform for customers to share their stories. Imagine the fun times you could spend reading about warranties. Let the party begin.
Something I should say here, and maybe I’m getting soft, is that I know it must be hard to come up with ideas with a film crew right there in your face. I couldn’t do it. I like to lock my door and think. Or brainstorm with a couple of trusted creatives. So, I get that this is no walk in the park. However, Heavenspot’s ideas verged on the blatantly obvious. "SquareTrade Saves." Blergh. The rehash, a support group, had promise but seemed very forced and overdone.
Mischievious came up with an idea I liked, actually. I know, shocker. Being able to give your friend a replacement phone for free, because you’re a SquareTrade member, has appeal. We all like to be the hero, even a cantankerous old shit like me.
After a tissue session with the client, both agencies have to hit the reset button. They dig in and get to work on their new big ideas.
Mischievious go with the five stages of smartphone grief. Could be funny, although it will probably amuse them more anyone else. Heavenspot came up with the happiness tracker. Yeah, you can share with people every stage of your warranty process. Riveting.
Then, it was time to hone their ideas into a dull point. Mischievious Studios bring out their helicopter cam, and no doubt they work that into every bloody ad they do. They certainly did here. Gimmicks, the 26-year-olds love ‘em. We also find out that the main guy at Mischievious Studious is a genius. But he does have the right amount of self-esteem for a creative Einstein, so don’t worry.
The pitch finally came, and it wasn’t clear who was going to win this one. Mischievious looked like they had it; even though it was the same level of campy, cheesy crap they always trot out, the clients laughed. And the Heavenspot stuff was a tad mundane. Even the client said “will people really share their stories?”
SquareTrade announced Heavenspot as the winners. Mixed emotions here, as I liked the people from Heavenspot but thought their work was humdrum. However, seeing the genius take a beating was fun.
As an aside, when I saw the work from Mischievious, I swore it looked familiar. And the reason? It is. It’s currently being used, far more effectively, in a T-Mobile campaign with Bill Hader called Jump. Same concept, much better execution. Did Publicis rip it off? Highly doubtful, but I’m sure the genius kid at Mischievous Studios will say they did.
So, another episode of 'The Pitch.' Another disappointment. Will we see any genuinely good work this season? Are you enjoying this season? Are you even watching it? Or reading this? Beuller? Bueller?
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.