Exhibiting its insatiable appetite for ad-related programming, AMC Sunday night ran the first episode of its new reality show "The Pitch." The premise: real ad agencies take the veil off the new-business-review process. It's obviously a crucial aspect of the ad business, but one that few of us who follow it figured would make for dramatic or interesting TV when stripped of the smoking, boozing, infidelity, faked deaths and assumed identities present in another advertising-related show on the same network.
In the first episode, North Carolina-based McKinney and Los Angeles shop Wong Doody Crandall Wiener were pitted against one another for a Subway assignment, as the fast-food-chain market seeks help in marketing breakfast to the 18-24 demographic.
Like the real ad business, they work on a tight timeline to come up with new campaign ideas to pitch. Some in-fighting at the agencies and lots of stress and pressure ensures. But things that ring dissimilar to Madison Avenue today include the two shops being briefed by the client in the same room (that rarely happens) and a focus on creating a TV spot for the campaign rather than a fully-integrated push that includes digital, social media and other channels.
In the end, Subway chooses McKinney over WDCW -- and they seemed a bit of a shoe-in since the marketers note at one point that McKinney has a "good reputation" and WDCW once did a campaign for rival Quiznos that they didn't like so much. McKinney's winning idea used YouTube rapping phenom Mac Lethal, who gets poetic about the "fresh" products Subway sells in the morning.
In the months running up to the show's premiere, we've had a healthy amount of debate over why it's a bad idea or good idea for agencies to appear on the show. And we talked to Tony Pace, the Subway CMO that stars in the first episode, about his company's motivations for signing on.
Now we want to know from those who saw last night's show: What did you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down, and why?