Advertising gets a new spotlight in April with the premiere of the AMC reality series, “The Pitch,” an inside look at how creative agencies compete to prove their ideas are the best. Though the real-life experience may not be as glitzy glam as the world of “Mad Men,” the series provides a fascinating take on the difficulties of creative gimmicking, the struggle to both stumble upon a golden thought, and convince someone else of its worth.
“It [advertising] is a certain industry where you survive by pitching, that’s the prerequisite to win business,” longtime ad executive Court Crandall explains to Zap2It.
Crandall is currently the Executive Creative Director at WDCW, one of two agencies featured in the show’s premiere.
“My dad was in advertising in that [“Mad Men“] era so I certainly watched the old-fashioned drinking. I think it’s depicted as a little more glamorous than it was, but most of it’s pretty accurate. People like the thought of the creative process. Starting fresh and creating something that entertains people.”
That said, there’s been a number of people who’ve tried to make TV shows to capture the spark in advertising and it’s a tough thing to do, especially now because a lot of the creative process is captured on computers or while you’re driving. We’re hoping “The Pitch” will give people some insight on how difficult the process is…That we’re not all just shysters.”
The premiere episode of “The Pitch,” airing April 30, examines two ad agencies — WDCW and McKinney — as they duke it out to win the creative for Subway’s new breakfast menu campaign. The internal clock is set for both Crandall’s team and his competitors, as they only have one week to come up with an idea, flesh it out and hope Subway chooses their agency.
“There are a couple ways to motivate people; you can either support and encourage or scare,” explains Crandall. “Both are effective, but I tend to like first model better. It’s important to realize that people in advertising are giving up hours and hours of their time. They’re making themselves sick, working all night, giving up time with their families to come up with something original for the company.”
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He continues: “I think it’s important to realize that when you consider someone’s work because most people don’t do their best work when they’re freaked out or in a panic…I prefer to help steer them along the way…but that doesn’t make the most interesting television. TV wants drama. That’s probably why you don’t see me as much in final cut.”
At times, executives in “The Pitch” are particularly scathing to their team, yet for the most part, Crandall feels the show is an accurate portrayal of the journey. While the one-hour time frame limited the “breadth and depth” of what could be shown, the ad director says that he is content with the results. Or the editing, at least.
The winning team will be revealed when “The Pitch” premieres on April 30. A sneak peek of the episode will run this Sunday (April 8) at 11/10pmc after “Mad Men.”