The Pitch Season 2 Episode 6 – Gibson. Yes, Gibson.

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Not Gibson dry cleaning services, or Gibson truck rental. This is Gibson guitar. A brand we all know, many of us love, and most of us would do a deal with Satan to work on. Well, maybe that’s just because I love Gibson, but still.

I have a feeling this episode is going to be as disappointing as the final season of Dexter. Although, maybe that’s going too far.

Two local Nashville agencies step up to the plate to try and win the business. Powell Creative, and DBD. Powell Creative is 22 years old, and has worked on brands as diverse as breweries and real estate. Their website is not filled with work I’d call impressive. It’s what you’d expect for a small agency working in Nashville. Mediocre, verging on laughable. Not a good start. The owner says each team member is as good as he can find. I’m guessing he can’t find people of the caliber W&K can. Then we meet Christa, who is apparently a stunning leggy brunette who uses her killer good looks to her advantage.

Yeah. You guys all need to get out more. Try walking through the offices of CP&B, you’ll seem some real tens. Not that it matters, but hey, you started it.

DBD is a family business started in 1976. The father has passed it on to the son. Whether that was a good idea is yet to be seen. A quick look at DBD’s website puts that question to rest. They suck.

So, two below-par agencies pitching for a client neither of them has any right pitching to, based on their portfolios. This sounds familiar.

The client meeting with Gibson is surprising. Their head office has seen better days. The meeting room itself is a million miles away from the rock ‘n’ roll image of Gibson. The brief is to bring Gibson to a wider, and younger audience, and to get away from the guitar-only image. As I said in the past, that’s a client problem. The CEO then goes on to say they want to be known as a “music and lifestyle” company. Edgy. Cool. Funny.

Oh. Dear. Why do one thing well, when you can do ten things ok? That’s how this feels. The CEO also announces that he’s worked with agencies in the past for only short periods of time. They fell short of his expectations. This means he could be a really difficult client. Time will tell.

We focus on DBD first, and there’s a weird father/son vibe going on. The boss doesn’t like big groups, so he culls it to four. They stumble around and end up pursuing emotion without sound. Could be interesting. Gibson audio: Hear it.

On the other team, one of the Powell Creative team has an idea of reshaping your ear into the shape of an instrument. Hear what you want to. I can see it for a guitar. A flute or a saxophone, you’re fucked. Or deformed.

The client visit brings panic. “To show, or not to show. That is the question.” It’s a toughie. Do you put it all out there and risk stealing the thunder of your pitch? I feel for them. But when the client comes, you have the chance to redirect. Use the client. Fuck it. Get their buyoff.

And the Gibson head honcho gives Powell a 1/10. Ouch. And it’s not surprising. Ears with pianos cut out of them. “Power your own sound.” It’s not subtle, like the Gibson client says. It’s trite, wishy washy “branding” that does nothing to empower people. Would you look at an image of a piano in someone’s ear and go “fuck me, I better check out the Gibson website” or would you turn the damned page? It’s the kind of advertising that he’s obviously hated in the past.

Time to start over, and turn up the heat. The Powell heads keep on the same road, but end up at “life played through Gibson.” And they’re using a “play” icon to put the imagery inside.

That’s original. Actually, it stopped being original about 50 years ago. God, I love to bitch, you know that. But right now I’m tired of it, as I’m sure you are. I really want to scream and shout about some good ideas for fuck’s sake.

DBD have the campaign idea of “Gibson Sound: Hear It.” We see people playing guitar with lacrosse sticks. Seems like it demeans the brand, and makes light of the power of Gibson. At this point, it’s no surprise. Then things get bizarre. The photo shoot has a guy with brown jizz (sorry, but it’s relevant) covering his face. And the guy with the messy face gets to go to the pitch. Daddy said yes.

Anyway, the pitch finally comes, after various questions about being parents and marrying life with advertising. I agree, it sucks. But it’s the nature of the beast.

The DBD work is cliché and expected. The video is awful. The client says it’s too subtle. He says he doesn’t get the message. Yep. I can’t figure out who is more annoying. But, they bring out the face-melting, mouth-exploding stuff, and it’s worth looking at. I think it’s a bit goofy looking, but it wouldn’t be ignored.

Powell goes next. They bring out the secret weapon…Christa, the “hot” one. She presents the creative, which underwhelms. Play Life Through Gibson. Meh. It’s more generic, lifestyle crap.

The Gibson CEO says Powell is the shit. They’re the winners. It’s awesome. So obviously they have the account. And the winner is…DBD.

Once again, the way this shit is cut together makes you think one agency hat it won, when it always goes to the other. Did they deserve it? Honestly, both agencies sucked. I think it was another “lesser of two evils” decision.

Do you agree? Have you given up weeks ago? Let us know. Because honestly, I’m getting burned out on shitty advertising.

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.


  1. KentC September 26, 2013

    I’m still watching and I’m
    I’m still watching and I’m not sure why.

    This particular episode was extremely painful. The biggest shock to me was when both agencies arrived at Gibson headquarters they had never heard of one another. They are both agencies in Nashville? They must have a local Addy’s or something?

    Anyway, this show has become less of a show about advertising and more about a brand trying to get a 42 minute commercial. There’s no way DBD (and why the hell would you use those initials as your name, there may be some obvious confusion) is Gibson’s agency of record.

  2. Cody Naetzker October 1, 2013

    Wondering if anyone has heard
    Wondering if anyone has heard of Sterling-Rice Group in Boulder, and whats their take on them? Was contacted for a possible position there. Wanting to get some more info.

  3. Anonymous October 2, 2013

    Some of the world’s best
    Some of the world’s best music was made on a Gibson. Seems natural to listen to it on a Gibson as well. People need to stop farting fluff and actually look for an insight or a problem to solve.

    I get the feeling that only about 1% of people who work in advertising and marketing are actually qualified to do their jobs.

    If doctors were as qualified as marketers to do their jobs, we’d all be broke or dead.

  4. Brad from Baltimore October 11, 2013

    I watch the show. Painful as
    I watch the show. Painful as it is at times. The Gibson episode was excruciating. (I own a Gibson Firebird guitar.) The folks doing the creative seemed to walk away from the core of Gibson’s essence, which is guitars and the people who play them. Well, I’m only an account guy, but cripes, how could they not pick up (pun intended) on this?

    A pattern has emerged, though. The winner almost aways “Shares” their idea upfront, and the client feels he’s part of the idea that way. This has happened most of the times, at least on the episodes I’ve watched.

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