Not so long ago I did a column that started off with an”homage” to French ad agency legend, Jacques Seguela’s 1979 book…“Please don’t tell my mother I work in advertising, tell her I play the piano in a brothel.”
This weekend, I had the unfortunate experience of watching yet another episode of AMC’s phantasmagoricaly awful program…
“The Pitch,” which leads me to offer a title enhancement to Jacques along the lines of… “I am not in advertising, I am a mass murderer.” Or, something to that effect.
The powers that be at AMC, in common with a great many of the acerebral’s who work in TV, are forever looking for spinoffs from their few successes in order to flog more time to advertisers. Obviously, in the case of AMC, their continuing hit show is “Mad Men.” A program that was inspired be my early career and profligate adventures on Madison Avenue.
So, some genius came up with the idea for “The Pitch.” This is another show about advertising, but takes place now, and in common with all other “reality” programs, is cheap to make and relies on the amazing number of people who are prepared to go on camera and make absolute asses of themselves.
Every week, a couple of agencies you’ve probably never heard of compete against each other to pick up an assignment, possibly even a whole account, from a client who has obviously decided he/she can get some work for free, that he/she may, or may not use. But what the heck, free is free. Right?
Obviously, the premise of the show is to demonstrate that everyone who works in an ad agency is a craven imbecile who would sell their first born and prostitute their wives if they thought it would win the agency a piece of business.
The show also demonstrates that people in ad agencies spend all day “creating” unmitigated crap. And the reason it’s crap, is ‘cos they pull it out of that place the sun don’t shine. No wonder crowdsourcing is such a big deal with clients… “The Pitch” is living proof that even cretins can create bad ads.
However, after sitting through this weekend’s episode with the aid of a gallon of Brandy and the rusty knitting needles I used to poke my eyes out with, I realised one immutable fact… The clients on this show are more cretinous than the agencies… I suspected this in the first episode when the client, Subway, whose CMO looked like Jared before he discovered the miracle slimming properties of two foot long hoagies, was adamant that what they were looking for in any breakthrough campaign was “Appetite Appeal!
“Oh yeah, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that from a fast food client, particularly when they are peddling the kind of food I wouldn’t feed to my dog. And my dog, a psycho-beserko Jack Russell, will eat anything, including other dogs.
However, on this week’s episode, the client, “PopChips” rose to the occasion with this classic demand during the briefing session… “We’re looking for you to create a digital video or interactive campaign that’s so genuinely interesting, people will want to share.” At that moment, any self respecting agency would have walked out the room.
Ooops sorry. “Self respecting agency” is obviously an oxymoron. I am speechless… Who moi? At least the BDA’s, BDHC’s and even the BDHCT’s had the sense to pass on this charade of a show. But, who knows for next season. Although, my money’s on the fact that there isn’t going to be a next season.
George Parker has spent more than 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which he describes as, “required reading for those looking for a piss & vinegar view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, “Confessions of a Mad Man,” makes the TV show “Mad Men” look like “Sesame Street.”
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