This is a must read. BusinessWeek reports on the MINI pitch, and the creativity of the pitch process itself.
There was plenty of face time and driving but the agencies were also required to perform in front of one another as each tried to impress the client-to-be, an unheard-of concept in the notoriously competitive ad world. “You don’t expect the client in these situations to be creative…that’s what they want us for,” says Scott Goodson, president of Strawberry Frog, one of the four contenders.
First, each team had to introduce themselves and create interesting name tags on the spot. The team from New York-based Mother put pictures of their actual mothers on tags. Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) of Sausalito, Calif., in a nod to socially correct recycling and frugality, they riffed, reused plain name tags from a meeting the previous week.
Then each team took turns answering questions that tested improv skills. “If Arnold Schwarzenegger runs for President, who should be his running mate?” went one game question. (Strawberry Frog’s team was divided between Sylvester Stallone and Papa Smurf.)
They also were sent out into nasty rainy weather to drive MINI Coopers and go on a kind of scavenger hunt for ideas and props to be used for a scrapbook. The book would tell a MINI story that the agencies and the client would all review over cocktails. Butler Shine’s scrapbook centered on a story about a mannequin the team named Darlene, which it snitched from a local electronics store. Darlene and team motored in a MINI to a pumpkin patch, but the caper ended up, for real, with the team being grilled at the local police station. “It was unusual to mix it up with your competitors, but being small and independent, we are all kind of members of the same club,” said BSSP Creative Director Michael Shine.
Can’t say I’ve heard anything quite like this, although there are plenty of new biz stories out there.