“Landing safely in Germany with the pitch work mysteriously landing safely in Lyon.
A last-minute accident in the lavatory with a low-level pump soap dispenser – you – can’t be taken seriously with a frothy and bubbling crotch.
Presenting the issues and problems of the project so meticulously and enthusiastically and at such great length it brought the project to a complete halt there and then.
Gesturing with such an eager and, I thought, wildly creative flourish I threw coffee and biscuits all over the client.
But the damning with faint praise was the one that hurt the most: “Well John thank you, we liked your presentation, but it felt somewhat lacklustre ”. I cried all the way home.”
“I never ‘pitch’, only present – and never for free. In the summer of 1994, I along with my then partners, Ken Carroll and Nicholas Thirkell, presented our design for a new broadsheet newspaper called The Independent to the editor Andreas Whittam Smith. Even though the paper had the potential of a full colour reproduction, we recommended black and white. As Whittam Smith looked at our dummy, there was an ominous silence. He turned a horrid shade of red and exploded, making it clear that he hated what we had done. We left deflated and disheartened, having worked around the clock. However the very next day, their political cartoonist Nicholas Garland phoned to tell us that everyone else liked it and Whittam Smith had changed his view. The Independent went on to win the first BBC Design Award.”
“The client walked out… We won the pitch for a financial pension company that had come up with a ‘new way of talking pensions’ – really? It was quite complicated to carry out the audit and understand what they actually did. We were working on visual imagery and tone of voice etc and were half through the presentation when the client turned on her high heels and left.”
“We were asked once to critique a campaign from the client pre-pitch that we thought was odd. Our constructive dissection right down to its failure to even have a basic call to action didn’t go down too well – so much so that we faced the wrath of a now standing commissioner and her claims of how many awards it had won and been a roaring success. We then had to pitch our ideas for an hour to effectively a raging brick wall. Awkward.”
“We generally enjoy the pitch process – it’s challenging and of course the competitive nature of the process often provides an extra motivation.
Our worst pitch situation recently was where we pitched for months to do an identity project – we won and then the CEO decided to give the project to someone else on a whim. The work ended up being weak and meaningless. Bitter… not really!”
What’s your worst pitch experience? Let us know in the comments section below.