AMC’s The Pitch: Chemistry with the TV audience is different than with the potential client

Prospective clients are looking for chemistry and likability in their ad agency partners and it doesn’t have to be a crap shoot. 

BooneOakley, a small 20 person ad agency in Charlotte, NC, showcased its unusual chemistry on “The Pitch” before a nationally televised audience. They were competing against a New York agency, Conversation, to be selected to develop an ad campaign for the popchips company.

BooneOakley didn’t win the client, but evidently they won over the television audience. According to the initial results of AMC’s The Pitch Poll – “Who Should’ve Won The Pitch Episode 4?”, BookeOakley’s chemistry with the television audience was far greater than the one it had with the potential client.

Chemistry is a huge selection factor when pitching for business. I thought it was clear from the televised initial meeting between the competing agencies that popchips heavily favored Conversation.
Pitching for new business is often biased. Tracy Wong, Chairman and Executive Creative Director, WDCW, writes:
“Our “score” in a pitch is thoroughly subjective, swayed by personal whim, politics and things that have nothing to do with objectivity or what’s “right.” Score matters little to me.”
There are a lot of potential variables in the selection process. Tracy’s agency, WDCW, lost to the McKinney agency in the premiere episode of The Pitch. Like BooneOakley, their chemistry with the show’s audience was far superior to that of their competitor’s but not with the potential client, Subway.
Chemistry is among the top, if not the most important, element in the pitch process.  Here are 10 quick chemistry building tips to implement prior to your agency’s next pitch opportunity:
  1. Ask for a list of the pitch attendees from the client’s side, along with their titles.
  2. Do research ahead of the pitch on the various pitch participants and make a list of each person’s social media accounts in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, 4 Square, etc. and engage them.
  3. LinkedIn: Look for connections from the client side with your agency’s pitch team such as previous employment, college, friends, etc. that are in their network. You are searching for the kind of information that will help build chemistry.
  4. Twitter: Follow and engage each person who has an account. Let them know you look forward to meeting them. Tweet the kind of content that would be of interest to the prospective client.
  5. Monitor the Twitter hashtags within their community.
  6. Facebook: You could Friend select members from the client side’s personal accounts and ‘Like’ their company’s Facebook page.
  7. Blog: If the company or an individual member of the pitch review team has a blog, subscribe to its RSS feed for regular updates to keep up with what is being shared.
  8. Read and research before you pitch. Conduct a search for any writing, press releases or other intelligence their team members may have shared through online publications.
  9. Be sure to share intelligence with other members of your pitch team and help them form relationships with the client’s agency review team prior to the pitch.
  10. Focus on benefits. Your audience only cares about how your service will improve their lives. Make the connection for your prospective clients. Don’t leave it to your audience to figure it out for themselves.
Click here for AMC’s poll along with additional information about the show.
You may also be interested in some of the following articles on ‘The Pitch’:

photo credit: ghirson via photo pin

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Warren Epstein says:

    What about chemistry with the product? I thought it odd that, except for a moment when somebody at Boone Oakley caught a chip in his mouth, nobody seemed to be eating the product.

  2. Good point Warren. I’m sure each of the agencies brought product to their office but not sure why the film crew didn’t show the engagement or if there was any to show.

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