I won my first pitch in February 1984 — so, this is my 30th anniversary of pitching and winning.
In 1984 I was an account executive at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, New York’s largest “Mad Men” era advertising agency and I used this pitch to gain senior management awareness and a promotion to account supervisor. Dancer also known as DFS, an agency you might not know about, had some small clients like P&G, General Mills, Toyota, Sara Lee, Nabisco, Wrangler and HP. (Saatchi & Saatchi bought Dancer in 1987.)
The pitch was for Western Union’s EasyLink service. EasyLink was the first commercial email service and launched the same year as the IBM PC. We won the $15 million AOR pitch and in the process I learned how a well-oiled pitch worked from a new business team that won nine out of ten pitches that year. One of the reasons we won the Western Union account was our repositioning of electronic mail (yes, that’s what it was called back then) as Instant Mail. DFS was very keen on selling the benefit.
So, just to go back to 1984 for a second. I was three years into my advertising career, I got promoted, I was working at New York’s hottest agency. I was working on one of the earliest internet technology accounts (a reason that I eventually left advertising to launch two Internet startups) and I learned how the Internet was going to transform the world of communications.
Here is how the New York Times reported on the win. get this. There were about 40,000 email users back then. Today? For 2014, Radicati Group projects 2.5 billion email users worldwide.