AMC's "The Pitch" returned for its second season on Thursday with two ad agencies battling for new business in front of a TV audience.
Last night the network introduced another new time slot for the one-hour show, which has moved to 11 p.m. When it made its debut last year, the show started on Sundays, pegged to AMC scripted ad hit "Mad Men," and then moved to Mondays. The potty-mouthed premiere of "The Pitch" pitted McKinney and WDCW (a recent honoree in Ad Age's Small Agency Awards) against each other on an assignment for Subway, the biggest marketer to appear on the show. Since then, the marketers have shrunk in prominence and the agencies signed on are an array of small independents.
If you're planning to watch, don't read the spoilers ahead. But if you want a quick summary to help you decide whether "The Pitch" round two is worth your time, we've served it up below.
The client: College Hunks Hauling Junk. It started as a junk-removal company in 2004 and has since grown into 50 franchises with 500 employees. The company has expanded into moving services and now needs to decide how it wants to continue to portray the brand. Partners Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman are at a critical juncture and looking to the two agencies to guide them on potentially renaming the business and repositioning the grown-up company.
The agencies: It's Breensmith vs. Fletcher Rowley. Atlanta-based Breensmith was started seven years ago by Chris Breen and Tim Smith, two ad men who previously worked for major agencies out of New York, Chicago and Miami. Clients include: The Weather Channel, CNN and Equifax. Fletcher Rowley, based in Nashville, Tenn., is primarily known for its political campaigns, having pitched in on everything from city council to presidential elections. Headed by Bill Fletcher and John Rowley, the agency is currently trying to get more traction with corporate work.
The process: After the two agencies meet in the briefing room, Fletcher Rowley researches its competition, Breensmith, and finds it has worked on some major Super Bowl advertising in the past. Mr. Rowley shows his competitive side, recalling how after he played basketball for 15 years, his team lost his last game by one point. That game still haunts him. His partner, Mr. Fletcher, lets loose by listening to some dubstep, blasting the electronic dance music in his car. Fletcher Rowley meets with a focus group of women -- College Hunks' target demo -- and realizes the current name of the company needs to go. Breensmith does its best brainstorming with beer. "We drink in the office, but usually not until noon," they joke. We also learn the team spends most of its day humorously bashing each other.
The Pitch: Mr. Fletcher points out the awkwardness of having to pitch to the client while the other agency is in the room. The agency comes up with a new name, Heroic Moving & Hauling, but the guys from College Hunks are initially unimpressed with the logo, which they whisper to each other looks like the label on a can of soup. But then Mr. Fletcher shows off the kids' superhero pack the company will give to families who use the service, which includes a branded cape and a comic book. Breensmith decides to keep the name College Hunks Hauling Junk for the company's hauling business, but designs a new logo with the tagline "Stress Dismissed." For the moving business, Breensmith pitches the name Hunks & a Dolly, where "Stress-Free Is Guaranteed." The College Hunks team points out that there is no mention of moving in the name.
Client Reaction: After both presentations, College Hunks are torn and don't appear to truly love either pitch. But the decision seems to come down to emotion. Ultimately deciding they are not ready to take "Hunks" out of the name, College Hunks' execs choose Breensmith to take on the account.