by Kat Grider
The point of the Bachelorette is for the audience to view a bevy of good looking men come trouncing through Malibu castle doors offering up the best, most evenly spray tanned, versions of themselves in order to get picked by a single eligible female. And the Bachelorette in question is apparently working off the assumption that you don't know what you want until you see it, professionally wrapped and done up with a bow -- so the more men the merrier.
The point of some agency reviews is for the brand to get a slew of talented agencies to submit their best selves in PDF or PPT format and then, a lucky few, may come sell their wares in-person. And, according to certain CMOs, this is as delightful as a group helicopter date complete with champagne. They, like the Bachelorette, assume the more ideas, wrapped in pretty packages, the more likely you are to find something you want.
I don't smell roses. I smell something the cows left behind.
First of all, smart, talented people should not be working insane hours on a pitch, all the time wondering whether they are subject to a procurement exercise and prancing their ponies just for show, or whether they are actually in the running. Such exercise is wasteful. The BRAT abhors waste.
Second, and more importantly -- true love happens when you know what you are looking for in a partner. Yes, there will be some surprises along the way, but if you don't know yourself well enough to know what you need to, dare I say, complete you, then it will be impossible for anyone to please you for very long. Brands are responsible for knowing what they need to drive the business forward and clearly articulating those goals. The agency is responsible for explaining how their team would tackle those goals. The agency review process should be about finding the best business partner, not the sexiest creative or another "big idea."
So here's a thought, let's rework the traditional pitch process all together and start valuing more substance over gift-wrap.
- Agencies brought less creative comps and more analysis?
- Brands paid agencies to pitch? (Not necessarily an hourly rate, but a token of respect and a way to ensure you only get called in if they really think you can win.)
- We all quit estimating each line item and instead talked about the skill sets required to meet the business opportunities (which, by the way, change all the time)
I know, I know, the Bachelorette has been on for almost a decade because certain formulas work. Tradition should count for something. But, as a recent Ad Age article about this very topic said,
"...maybe you should consider that a decision based on habits and myths may not be strategic. It might be as stupid as it sounds." - Ad Age Article
Habits and myths are powerful things. But you know what's even more powerful -- common sense. People want to do good work, they want to compete and they want to know they aren't chasing tails or giving away their work. Now, I'll drink champagne in a heart-shaped hot tub to that.