|Yup, been there, done that.|
Not my first pitch, thankfully, so I went confidently into that big room, knowing full-well I could do this gig, do it well.
The confidence was short lived as the reality of the situation hit me square in the cerebral cortex with one simple, subject line only email.
Boss send me an email, requesting in not so many words that I wear business attire to the meeting. In fact, the words were, BUSINESS ATTIRE.
Who even says business attire any more? And seriously? He feels the need to remind me like I'm 12?
Mind you, we're a creative bunch. Or supposed to be. And while this was my first pitch with this dude, I've been pumping copy for him for 2 years now. I'm not wearing pajama jeans to pitch in the big leagues. I'm not a moron.
But business attire was just the beginning. It was as if my naked college final exam except I never took the class nightmare all came to fruition in one 30 minute span. 27 minutes actually, but no one was counting except me – and the prospectives sitting around the table wishing with their body language for us to get the hell out of there, pronto.
There was no briefing. There was no portfolio. There was no timeline, creative, campaign ideas, guerrilla marketing techniques, social media brainstorms. No demographics, comparison analysis, interactive website design. No analytics. No media leverage, no laptops, no white board, no notes.
Three guys and a girl. In business attire.
There was a powerpoint, which was read – verbatim – and two television spots from 1976 shown with no sound. Just kids from my childhood running around a grainy screen.
Then there was this:
"Out of the box thinking."
"Must think out of the box."
"We think outside the box."
"Beware of a one trick pony."
"Creative problem solvers."
and wait for it...
"We're people persons."
And while I respect the right of my client to suggest I dress accordingly, perhaps his time would have been better spent preparing for this chance of a lifetime meeting. As part of the creative team, we arrived late, to the wrong address, with no campaign strategy, no pitch, no plan, and no relevant samples. And while we sat around the huge mahogany table with ten VIP decision makers judging our every move, I sure hope they noticed my business attire, and not my name that went down with that sinking ship.