Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising reported yesterday that they held an online all-hands London office meeting. They pointed to the now decades-old agency inspirational slogan: Nothing Is Impossible as proof that they get things done.
What most Saatchi people do not know is that Adidas outright stole the Saatchi slogan, flipped it and used it for 20 years.
A bit of history for Saatchi people (and anyone that will find this micro-story about client theft) a bit amazing.
Back in the 1990’s Maurice Saatchi and I pitched for the global Adidas account.
We lost, read about the sad yet very teachable moment here, The Worst Advertising Presentation – Ever.
We Lost. But Adidas Stole The Saatchi Slogan.
After the pitch, Adidas quickly stole our Nothing Is Impossible slogan and flipped it to Impossible is Nothing.
I never got an answer to this simple question… Why Did Adidas Steal Its Advertising Slogan?? I did ask Adidas. Maybe I should have asked their agency, Leagas Delany.
The Advertising Agency Client RFP – Go Or No Go
As an agency owner and business development director at Saatchi, I received many RFP’s — Request For Proposals. The reaction to receiving an RFP ranged from delight (YES, a big brand and client is interested in us) to dismay (a brand is asking us to respond to what is clearly an assignment that is not predicated on the client’s understanding of what we do for a living (example, asking us to build Android apps when we didn’t).
Responding to an RFP can be very time consuming and expensive for any agency. The costs include direct labor, out of pocket costs and the cost of deflecting staff attention from existing client and business development work. I outlined the cost of responding to RFI’s, RFP’s and actual pitches in my book “The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches”. Believe me, the costs can easily go into the thousands.
The bottom line is for your agency to have a clear set of rules that dictate when you should respond to an incoming RFP. Swinging at every ball is not a great way to hit home runs and manage your business.
Some RFP Related Expert Opinions
Being Mr. Nice Guy…
How Your Advertising Agency’s Sales Pitch Is Like An Indian Shopkeeper
I was in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and Mumbai for the month of January. As a tourist, my attention was desired by many shop keepers, solo tour guides and taxi drivers.
The usual sales pitch come-on, the way for me to be enticed to turn and make eye contact, were questions. Essentially two: a questioning “Hello Sir?” or “Where are you from.”
While I always heard the question, I learned not to make eye contact in most cases as the ultimate offer being made was usually the same. I was being asked to enter a shop to buy something, generally, pashmina scarfs or a new suit, to receive an offer of transportation or some form of guidance. In some way, I was sad that I did not speak with everyone. That I dismissed their personal ‘pitch’ through silence. But, really, I had no choice if I wanted to get on with my daily plans.
Advertising Agency Business Development, It’s Sales Pitch And “Hello Sir”
Over the years, I’ve noticed that many advertising, design and PR agencies do little more than what the Indian shopkeepers did. These agencies simply find a way to wave their hands to say “Here we are” to prospective clients.
The agency sales message can be effective in getting attention for a fleeting moment, but the next set of words or information looks like all the other hand waving from other agency competitors. The agencies offer little in a customized sales pitch or insights that would help the client want to turn their head and want to hear more.
Sameness, or worse, being ignored, is a space that many agencies business development programs live in.
I’ll talk more about building strategic and action-oriented brand and message differentiation in the next couple of weeks. OK, I have actually been writing about this for years. But, I’ll deliver more direct ideas and collation of past thinking.
Most agencies have to get past, “Hello Sir.”
Ask me how your agency’s sales pitch can break you out of the “pashmina” pack.
Anatomy Of An Advertising Agency Pitch
This interview with Tony Mikes, Founder of the Second Wind Network, is a first-person perspective by an advertising agency management and business development leader who sat on the client side of an important ad agency pitch. It is an enlightening review of how advertising agencies performed, or didn’t, in a new business pitch for the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Frankly, A Must Read
The interview and perspective on agency new business pitching will be highly instructive for small, medium and large agencies… to say the least.
The interview first appeared in my book, “The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches.”
It is very rare to have an advertising agency veteran sit on the client side of a pitch and give his impressions of the process and how the agencies performed. You will hear about what the winning agency did and what the losers failed to do.
The interview is over three thousand words so I broke it into two parts. I urge you to read both.
At the end of part two, I will give you my impressions on the lessons that every agency can learn from Tony’s experience and insights.
Tony Mikes was the Founder and Managing Director of the Second Wind Network, which today has over 800 small to mid-sized agency members.
Tony consulted with and advised advertising agencies and their leadership on best practices for almost 20 years. He provided members and clients with ‘old school’ agency wisdom and combined it with cutting-edge strategies. Before starting Second Wind, he was President of Pennsylvania’s Mikes & Reese Advertising from 1972 to 1988.
My Portland agency Citrus had been a member of Second Wind, and Tony was one of our advisors. Tony was an experienced mentor that could always help me resolve an agency-related issue or grab an opportunity and turn it into success. Sadly, Tony passed away in 2015.
The Anatomy Of An Advertising Pitch Interview
PL: You were on the client side of the agency selection table recently. How did that go? [Read more…] about Anatomy Of An Advertising Agency Pitch: Part One