Modern Mad Men: Revisiting "The Pitch."
Updated: Nov 29, 2018
A few years ago, Jones Advertising was invited to participate in AMC TV's new reality series, "The Pitch." Like a modern refashioning of their hit series, "Mad Men," AMC came to Seattle to ask Jones Advertising (along with WongDoody) to compete against other agencies for a piece of new business. In our case, the Autograph Collection hotel chain by Marriott.
In anticipation of The Pitch, we'd cleared two weeks from our schedule. Our supportive and understanding clients agreed to move two previously scheduled TV shoots to the end of the month so we could participate. Then, as fate would have it, The Pitch had to postpone our shoot by two weeks. Suddenly, we had The Pitch and two client TV shoots all happening at the same time – all of this under the watchful eye of The Pitch's camera crew.
We flew to New York to meet the secret (up to that point) client and learn the assignment. The Autograph Collection wanted a big campaign centered around a brand icon to help them build awareness and stand out from their competition and other Marriott brands. But instead of weeks to research, concept and create a pitch, we had days.
After quickly narrowing down our concepts, we landed on two ideas we wanted to pitch. We decided to propose a Red Pen to be the brand icon and to launch an online mystery that would get viewers to research and craft stories set in Autograph Collection hotels. To bring the integrated and social media campaign to life, we planned to produce a 2-minute video and invite viewers to write the next chapter. Pulling together a crew, location, and cast in a matter of hours was no easy feat. But despite the shortened timeline, we were all proud of what we accomplished.
The Pitch production crew filmed countless hours of footage at our office – most of which ended up on the editing room floor. Not surprisingly, many viewers got an incomplete idea of what we actually pitched. So, we created videos to give our team the credit they deserved for creating two beautiful and strategic campaigns in just days.
Ultimately, Marriott selected the other agency's campaign (though we did win the people's choice for best campaign). However, not long after our episode aired, Waldorf Hotels introduced a virtually identical campaign to the one we presented. So it turns out, it was a winning idea after all.