My biggest gaffe: lack of preparation for a pitch

Tristan Pineiro, creative director at Grayling, discovered snails are not the hit attraction in Jersey that he believed them to be...

Tristan Pineiro: "Research, join up, rehearse and know what you’re talking about."
Tristan Pineiro: "Research, join up, rehearse and know what you’re talking about."

My biggest PR gaffe? Surely none, I thought. Turns out there have been several, from the whole pitch team whipping out our carefully concealed pants at the end of a presentation with "dirty knickers" printed on them in front of a bemused audience (it was to do with our ideas being scary – it seemed right at the time), to combining shaving and art and coming up with the unfortunate term ‘Shart’ for a shaving brand. Neither pitch was won…

My worst moment was in Jersey. We were pitching for the tourist board during a very busy period for the agency. In what is decidedly worst practice, three of us found ourselves on a light aircraft headed to the island, reading through the document that had been prepared for us for the first time. The bulk of our ideas seemed to centre on the "famous battlefields of World War Two".

The ideas were inappropriate, given Jersey’s history. We quickly tried to rewrite our ideas in the taxi on the way to the meeting, by interrogating the driver about the best hidden gems of the island. The best we got was a snail farm, which we waxed lyrical about to a panel of bemused business leaders.

The moral of the story? Research, join up, rehearse and know what you’re talking about. And snails are never really going to get people to visit Jersey.

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