September 6, 2013
With all the great (or even above average) television on the air these days, I’ve vowed to stop watching anything that repeatedly falls to the bottom of my DVR queue. I’ve made some sweeping cuts –- most involving the big networks –- but I can’t seem to shake a few shows that fall into the “bad reality TV” category.
Perhaps the worst is “The Pitch” on AMC. It started out as an intriguing concept. Cameras would follow two ad agencies through every aspect of a new business pitch, from the initial brief until the business was awarded.
There was obvious appeal for someone in the marketing industry. We’d see how different firms approach the creative process and attempt to sell ideas, as well as how prospects evaluate the work.
Season one started out strong. The show had a lead-in from “Mad Men” and the first episode had a pair of well-respected, mid-size shops vying for work from Subway.
Sadly, it’s been downhill from there. And season two, which launched three weeks ago, has not exactly started off with a bang. With the industry’s top agencies unwilling to jump on board, AMC has been left with people who appear a bit desperate and/or mismatched for the work they are pitching.
There was the agency barely hanging on, with the founder living at the office, after previous employees embezzled millions from him. There was the 73-year-old creative guy trying to prove he can still be relevant. There were the 23-year-old youngsters trying to show they belong. There was the firm that specializes in politics pitching the College Hunks Moving Junk brand.
What there hasn’t been is a realistic depiction of an actual pitch (or many breakthrough ideas for that matter). Sure, the basic elements are there, but they’ve been doctored for reality TV. Here are just a few of the issues:
Ultimately, “The Pitch” emphasizes many of the worst aspects of our industry and it makes me more uncomfortable than anything. So, why can’t I stop watching? What about you?