Hacked Off Flack

Hacked Off Flack's most embarrassing pitch moments

Date: 20 March 2012 09:30

It’s bad enough not winning pitches, but having to explain why is even worse. You can use excuses about the client not being brave enough to go with creative ideas, or having been bribed by another agency, but sometimes there are really embarrassing reasons why pitches go wrong. Reasons you can’t possibly divulge.

As this is anonymous, I am happy to reveal some true, and particularly cringe-making, pitch moments that I know about – some I have been unfortunate enough to witness. And if you do happen to know who I am, let me be clear, none of the really awful things were done by me. Ahem.

1. Throwing up in the middle of a pitch. It was lucky someone managed to find a bin quickly to catch it. I think this has to be the most awful pitch experience EVER. Top tip: If you think you’re going to be sick, stay home.

2. Using the wrong video. I heard about a disgruntled employee switching the pitch film to one that was X-rated. The off switch was pressed very quickly.

3. Knowing the client rather too well. It appears that if you pitch to a woman you have recently dumped, she’s unlikely to give you the business.

4. Hearing snoring. When you find that one of the people you are pitching to has fallen asleep, chances are they haven’t been wowed by the creative work.

5. Finding your pitch slot has been cancelled. Recently a team arrived, all fired up to present, to find that they were no longer on the pitch roster. Apparently the client had called the agency to let them know, but the junior who answered the phone forgot to pass on the message. That junior will never make it to senior.

6. Looking (and smelling) like a tramp. A colleague of mine had us rolling around the floor when she described how her dirty, smelly clothing took over a pitch meeting. She had fish soup for lunch, spilt most of it down her front, but been unable to wash it out effectively. As she started presenting, an unpleasant odour caught the attention of the potential client more than her work. Luckily, it was decided there was a drain problem.


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    When I had finished a pitch to the senior team of a luxury hotel group I asked if there were any questions. The response was the toe curling: "Just the one - why did you feel it necessary to address us with your flies down?"

    Name: Chris Birdsall
    Date: 20 Mar 2012 01:46 PM

    Oh bless you, Chris - that made me laugh nearly as much as the woman in the fishy suit!

    Name: Jane Fannon

    Date: 20 Mar 2012 05:33 PM

    Well many now infamous pitch moments from a previous agency - there was the one where my then MD had a stand up row with the prospect, a well known printer company, whose name we also pronounced incorrectly throughout! Another where we turned up 40 mins late. Then there was the one where I was supposed to be the resident yachting expert (it was the BT Round the World Yacht Race pitch) because I had once been on one!

    Name: Amanda Hassall

    Date: 21 Mar 2012 03:23 PM

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