What We Leave Behind [Pitch Pain]

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Peter Levitan
Peter Levitan



burger-king-pitchThis article is a part of the Pitch Pain series, featuring stories from agencies, clients, and search consultants on their best and worst pitch experiences.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide New York

Brand: Burger King

Storyteller: Peter Levitan

Leave behind materials are an essential part of the pitch process. You will spend almost as much time thinking about what you will be leaving behind when you exit the pitch room as you do creating the presentation itself. I admit, the term leave behind sounds almost as lame as war room, but that’s what we all call it.

Here is one of my favorite leave behind stories from Michael Keeshan, when he was the President and COO of Saatchi & Saatchi New York.

Michael was leading the pitch for the Burger King account. The pitch took place in a hotel conference room near the client. The client was looking for a casual setting for an early chemistry meeting with a few agencies. Michael knew JWT would be following Saatchi into the conference room, and he decided to lighten his team’s mood by punking JWT. He "accidently" left some presentation boards with a totally crazy strategy for burger marketing in the corner of the room so JWT could "discover" them, sneak a peek, and think Saatchi had left some inane insights behind. He also rearranged the furniture to make the seating less congenial and more presentation-like. Playing with the head of a competitive agency is one way to leave them behind.

The Lesson:

It is OK to have fun.

The process of creating and running new business pitches is hard, serious work. It is OK to include humor during pitch development and even when you get into the room with your prospective clients. Sure, they are looking for a serious agency. But you are agency people, and in many cases, they are also looking for “creative types” who will be fun to work with.

This Pitch Pain story has been excerpted from Peter’s book, The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches.

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