Do Your Advertising Agency Presentations KISS?

download cochraneUse The Power Of KISS In Your Advertising Agency Presentations

Here is an excerpt on KISS – the art and power of simplicity – from my book on ad agency pitching and presentation management. The whole 249-page advice-rich book can be bought at Amazon. Right here.


KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid — works.

A jam-packed presentation loaded with agency credentials, too many ideas, too many presenters and a dozen creative executions that cover every issue the client has or might ever have in their lifetime, will not help you win. The client will be overwhelmed, and even worse, you won’t be able to build personal rapport and all important interpersonal chemistry. The client, especially the client that has to sit through four other agency presentations, could even go into deep REM sleep. I have seen it happen.they won’t leave the room hearing or remembering your agency’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Think of it this way:

An over-built presentation could also result in their leaving the room without hearing or remembering your agency’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Think of it this way:

CMO + REM + No memorable USP = No Sale.

I truly want to think that an agency could walk into a pitch meeting room and just present one concise insight that leads to one brilliant advertising idea that leads to one mind-blowing execution that leads to the client decision maker saying “I love you, I need you, where’s the contract?” But I am not that crazy. Or am I?

Keep these super KISS Moments in mind.

 Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was only 272 words long.

Churchill is famously known for his request for brevity in cabinet documents.

M&C Saatchi recognizes that in today’s digital-overload world, where people have the attention span of butterflies, getting even one point across and being remembered for it is golden. In M&C Saatchi parlance, ‘Brutal Simplicity’ rules. They’ve won clients behind this message.

Conversely, we’ve all sat through State Of The Union addresses that are so  jam-packed that we don’t remember anything. Clinton’s 2000 speech was 2 hours, 28 minutes and 49 seconds long. What do you remember him saying that night?


Of course, you can use all the time the client has given you to deliver your presentation. But that does not mean that you need to overwhelm them with detail about your thinking and and agency factoids..

Think Like Martin Luther King & Johnny Cochrane

Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech was only 17 minutes long and included the key (as in easy to remember) line “I have a dream.” 

Johnny Cochrane understood tactical brevity  when he helped O.J. Simpson with the line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

You are in advertising and study culture. Think like a preacher, lawyer or even a skilled headline copywriter who knows the power of a concise headline. Think of the power of Apple’s simple tagline that delivered this highly competitive message: “Think Different”.

In the case of ad agency presentations… thinking different can be all about keeping it all a little bit bit simpler.

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