Now new business machine Pablo wins Play-Doh

Indie London agency Pablo is turning into a new business machine to rival the likes of VCCP and New Commercial Arts, now confirming its win of Hasbro’s global Play-Doh account hard on the heels of the Government’s Department of Business and Trade in partnership with CRM agency Unlimited.

Pablo competed against two other agencies, with the pitches taking place last November without an intermediary. Agency joint MD Hannah Penn says: “There are few brands with more magnetism than Play-Doh. We are so excited to be getting to partner such a brilliant team of clients at such an important chapter in the brand’s journey.”

Winning pitches remains the lifeblood of creative agencies even though data from the US claims each pitch there costs the agency $200,000 and, somehow or other, the client $400,000, even though they don’t pay for them. Where that money goes is anyone’s guess – pitch consultants or just the fact that the damn things seem to take forever these days?

Ad Age’s mystery columnist MT Fletcher even suggests that one reason for their incidence and ridiculous length is to keep under-pressure CMOs in the job for a further year.

Just as sad, perhaps, is that they no longer seem to be the theatre they were once reported to be. Back in the day a famous, and briefly successful, London agency Allen Brady and Marsh took theatre to unparalleled heights. Its leader was Peter Marsh, a former thespian whose office boasted old bits of kit from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

For the British Rail pitch, the then-nationalised rail operator, ABM decorated its office in British Rail’s inimitable style – overflowing ashtrays (it was a long time ago) dirty cups and so on. The receptionists were instructed to be surly and unhelpful to the BR types when they arrived.

When they were just about to leave (angrily) in bounces Marsh to say: “this is what people think you’re like, but this is how we will change things,” or some such. Business transformation, as we say these days. ABM won the business on the spot.

The agency went on to run ‘the Age of the Train’ a huge campaign fronted by TV host Jimmy Savile (then a pillar of BBC TV), now recognised as a notorious paedophile.

On second thoughts, maybe agencies should be careful what they wish for and stick with the data.

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