Deconstructing The Pitch: Is pitch theatre a good idea?
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
President/Editor-in-Chief

Deconstructing The Pitch: Is pitch theatre a good idea?

Somewhat surprisingly, there is plenty of support for pitch theatre, as long as it is not gratuitous.

Arun Sudhaman

Somewhat surprisingly, there is plenty of support for pitch theatre, as long as it is not gratuitous.

Our investigation into new business pitching is a five part-series. Jump to the following sections:

New business in a new era
Your best pitch
Ingredients for success

The best ‘pitcher’ you have ever seen

Panel
AS: Anna Shipley, director of comms, Nokia China, Korea and Japan
AB: Andrew Bloch, MD, Frank PR
CA: Clive Armitage, CEO, Bite Communications
SD: Stephen Doherty, international comms director, Diageo
TD: Todd Defren, principal, Shift Group
DS: Doug Spong, president, Carmichael Lynch Spong
MS: Michael Sullivan, head of consumer, MSLGroup US
RG: Rich Goldblatt, SVP/director of consumer, M Booth
KH: Ken Hong, global comms director, LG Electronics

AS: Things are not always predictable so spontaneous elements are useful. Teamwork as well as media knowledge and experience are very visible in these sorts of environments but it’s also important that it does not put the agency under too much pressure to perform. Making it too theatrical limits the benefits for both client and agency.

AB: I’m not a massive fan of pitch theatre and will always opt for winning based on the strength of our ideas as opposed to gimmicks. Having said that, it is important to stand out and make an impression, and  sometimes that requires doing something a bit more out of the ordinary.

CA: If it is in pursuit of an objective – to make a creative point; to wake people up at the end of a long presentation or to get a *hot* start to the pitch then it definitely has a place. Also depends on the type of a pitch – if it’s a big audience then pitch theatre can work really well. A smaller, more intimate group isn’t quite as conducive.

SD: We once did an entire pitch using a big picture of a pie. We riffed around it, and it was gigantic fun to be involved in, but we didn’t win. Pitch theatre where the theatrical activity itself is making one of the salient points you want to make, absolutely works. If you are trying to say your agency is really wacky, that’s a bit cliched.

TD: Nope.

DS: My advice regarding pitch theatre is to use it sparingly and smartly. If it reinforces your core idea and can be staged in a way that is somewhat unexpected without being a distraction, then thoughtfully stage your presentation. Just remember that clients want to gain confidence in your people and your thinking versus how much you can dress the room or the quality of swag you hand out at the end of the presentation.

MS: Yes. if it’s called for. It makes no sense to do theatre for the sake of theatre - or even worse, to show how cool WE are. If the brand or client can be highlighted or commented on in a cool and fun way through pitch theatre, bring it on. If you have a very strong strategy and ideas, overdoing the theatre can be a distraction, or seem like compensation for a perceived outage.

RG: Clients are people too. They like to be entertained. PR people should read the book, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo.

KH: It works for me but only if it's part of the creative solution, not just an attention-grabber.

Our investigation into new business pitching is a five part-series. Jump to the following sections:

New business in a new era
Your best pitch
Ingredients for success

The best ‘pitcher’ you have ever seen

comments powered by Disqus