Mad Men and ABM: the secrets of winning pitches

I’ve never sat in on a pitch to a client but often wondered what wheezes successful agencies come up with.

Back in the day there were some masters of the art (if such it be), one being Peter Marsh of rumbustious agency Allen Brady & Marsh. Marsh, a former thespian, liked to put on a show.

When British Rail came in he had the agency’s reception made over in British Rail style. Overflowing ashtrays, coffee stains, receptionists who ignored the bemused clients. When they were just about to leave, in bounded Marsh. “That, gentlemen, is how you present yourself to the public,” he boomed (or something like it). ABM won the job of sprucing up British Rail. The fact they chose Jimmy Savile for the purpose is somewhat unfortunate in hindsight although everybody seemed happy enough at the time.

Here’s another off the wall approach to a pitch, the great Don Draper. Don and Roger seem to have been at an awards do judging by the statuettes they’re clutching. So they’re even more pissed than the clients.

Happy days..

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.