ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; What was your worst pitch experience?

Mark Borkowski Mark Borkowski Press & PR

Mark Borkowski Mark Borkowski Press & PR

‘In about 1985 when I was a fledgling public relations man, still not

out of shorts, I went to pitch for what I thought was a fairly pukka

‘lifestyle’ magazine. It turned out to be a stable of porn mags. They

had said they were looking for fresh ideas but when I tried to give them

the guy said, ‘I don’t think you understand, son, this is porn’. We got

into an argument, he accused me of wasting his time and had me thrown

out of the building. I left with a bloody nose.’

‘The development and adoption of a range of new technologies within the

public relations industry is hampered by a latent conservatism and

mistrust of information technology among the old guard. Too many

practitioners rely on outdated and unproductive IT systems. The

potential for us is huge but a general awareness and training programme

is called for if the industry is to exploit multi-media, the Internet,

video conferencing and other emerging technologies.’

Alan Preece Asda

‘Once when I was in-house at another company we had three agencies in to

pitch to the board. I’d briefed the agencies thoroughly and told them

the budget they’d have to work to. One agency did this outstanding

presentation. At the end the chairman asked them how much it would cost

and they gave a figure three times over the budget. Then the chairman

looked at me as though I was completely mad.’

Annie Garthwaite UPS

‘The most embarrassing one happened in Germany. We were looking for a

new agency and were inviting in the likes of Burson-Marsteller and

Fleishman-Hillard. Someone strongly recommended that we see a small

consultancy that I’d never heard of and we asked them to pitch too. It

was literally a one-woman shop and as soon as she arrived it was plain

to us, and to her, that she was inappropriate. But we went through with

the pitch anyway. She’d bought us all little German biscuits as a

present. I felt such a worm.’

Jan Stannard Marbles

‘The worst was when I was a 22- or 23-year-old account executive at Carl

Byoir & Associates. The consultancy was presenting to Gillette and I was

asked to take part at the last minute, not having had any input on the

proposals. I got up and dried completely. The account director had to

rescue me. It was awful. But from that experience I learned that a

management team should never put someone into a pitch who doesn’t have

ownership of the brief.’

Neil Kendle Fusion Communications

‘Any unsuccessful pitch has been traumatic but even worse was the day

when one of the selection panel fell asleep. I like to think that my

lively and stimulating pitch presentation style is one reason we win

work, but this time it underwhelmed the selector. My fellow presenter

and I carried on bravely through his slumbers and were surprised to win

the account. I wonder what the losers were like.’

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