Give Them What They Want or Give Them What You Think They Need?

I was super excited when I heard about The Pitch before it came out. I even put it on my calendar (I’m a type-A planner all the way). But life happened. Other DVR’d shows happened. (I’m looking at you, Mad Men). But last night, I finally got a chance to watch The Pitch.

Caution: Spoilers ahead.

To briefly summarize, episode three featured “The Clockwork Account” – where recently acquired Clockwork Home Services was looking to generate business while maintaining their three current brands. The two competing agencies, Houston-based FKM and Toronto-based The Hive, couldn’t be more different. Whereas FKM took an “all-hands-on-deck” approach, including a 24-hour sequester without cell phones and the ability to leave the building, The Hive used key personnel to formalize one idea.

Besides the obvious dissimilarities in the agencies, the show pin-pointed a dilemma that often arises in the world of advertising and public relations: Is it better to give a client what they want or to give them what we think they need? Often, the two concepts are completely different.

In this case, The Hive soft-pitched an idea the client specifically did not want during their “tissue session” four days prior to the final pitch. Clockwork Home Services quickly axed it, resulting in lost time and momentum for the agency. FKM followed the creative brief, came up with several ideas and narrowed it down to one. FKM’s CEO explained:

“[The pitch] should be about the brand, not us or our great ideas.”

This error on the part of The Hive might have cost them the account. Or it could have paid off. I’ve seen it happen both ways. They say that big risks garner big rewards …

What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *