BY Matt Williams
We all know that sex and advertising are two subjects that have gone hand in hand for years now.
But before your mind runs too wild, quickly snap those type of thoughts out of your head and shift your focus to pitching.
Because according to our president Robin Wight, there are numerous similarities – from wooing to seduction to consummation – between pitching for business and romancing a partner.
Robin made these comments last night at the IPA, during a riveting talk in which he was grilled by Campaign editor Claire Beale on the pitching process.
Suitably billed as a ‘Pitching Legend’, Robin explained his journey from winning his first client (a certain Vince Cable), to going on to pitch for and secure work from some of the UK’s best-loved brands.
As you’d expect from a man described on the night as “one of the most energetic people in the industry”, Robin affirmed that enthusiasm is still the most important asset to have as an agency approaching a pitch.
The quality of WCRS, he explained, was its ability to show a gusto and relentless fervour that ensures that results will eventually come.
Appropriately, one of WCRS’ most recent ad campaigns was cited as a great example of this in action. In winning the Safestore ad business – a pitch against a number of other high profile agencies – WCRS forced the win by returning to the client on numerous occasions with new and exciting ideas. The passion and commitment to this cause ensured that not only did WCRS win the account, but the final work devised in the pitch was the same work that broke on TV (pictured above) just a month after the agency’s appointment.
But before WCRS bask in all the glory, Robin also cited that this was only made possible thanks to a brave Safestore client. This was someone who avoided the research process and made a decision based on his gut feel of how the work would do. Too often, Robin said, clients go with process and research rather than gut instinct, and it results in weaker work.
The desire to move away from progression-stunting process is why Robin also approaches pitches by asking the client to “not provide a brief, but provide a problem.”
Only then can an agency really get under the skin of a company, and work out exactly how they can help them in the most effective ways.
Then it’s up to the agency to set to work on learning all about the product – immerse yourself in the brand. Pitching for business is about curiosity. If you don’t want to learn about a certain new sector or new brand, then that piece of business is not for you.
Luckily in Robin, a lack of creative curiosity is rarely a problem.