Three Things the New Crop of Agencies on AMC's 'The Pitch' Should Expect

The Network Controls the Editing, but Not the Agency's Self-Promotion

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AMC has released the names of the brands and agencies that will appear on the second season of the network's reality series "The Pitch," starting Aug. 15. What happens to an agency that gets on the show?

We were one of the agencies from season one. Going into production, we didn't know how this experience might change the pitch process. Would there be hair and makeup? Were they going to film us waking up in the morning?

From the day the camera crew rolled in with the lights and microphones to our trip to San Francisco for the actual pitch, the whole experience felt like a whirlwind. For about a week, almost every conversation was recorded, every meeting filmed. Despite our focus on the televised battle for PopChips, however, we also had to carry on business as usual. We still had other clients and high-priority work that required the same attention and dedication that we devote on any other day. But we made it through (and won on the show).

Now we've got three pieces of advices for the agencies entering the maelstrom for season two.

Conversation staff in season one of 'The Pitch'
Conversation staff in season one of 'The Pitch' Credit: AMC/David. M Russell

How you come off is out of your hands.
One important thing we learned is that that while "The Pitch" claims to offer a real-life look into the world of advertising, it is first and foremost a form of entertainment. The cameras film hours upon hours of agency planning, collaborating, strategizing, designing, developing and producing; this is then condensed into a 42-minute segment. As you can imagine, a lot gets cut, as the show aims to appeal to a broad base of viewers.

But the industry does watch.
To this day, we get people saying, "Hey! You're from the agency that was on 'The Pitch!'" Walking into a meeting, at least three of ten people in the room have heard of the show -- and one will have seen our episode. (Those that have seen the episode will definitely have an opinion about us.) Now we are receiving international inquiries, as the series is beginning to air around the world, providing additional exposure to brands that may not have known about us.

And you should bolster the buzz.
While being on "The Pitch" will land you some publicity, there is much more that agencies can do to maximize exposure and garner networking opportunities. We tried to take full advantage. Our in-house public relations team contacted numerous publications and earned quite a few featured stories and placements about our role on the show. We spoke to hometown newspapers to get communities from all over the country watching our specific episode. On the night of the airing, we threw a huge party, inviting friends and family, as well as some notable figures in the industry.

Even after the first season was over, our "star power" encouraged others to reach out to us about interviews and speaking opportunities, including the New York Times' Timescast Media+Tech webcast.

This year, as the team comfortably watches "The Pitch" without having to hold our breath, wondering how we will be perceived, our greatest piece of advice to this year's contestants is this: make the most of the opportunity. Consider this your pitch to the world.

Frank O'Brien is founder of Conversation, a New York-based agency.

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