A pitch for new business is an opportunity for gratitude.
August 13, 2008
I’ve been asking people to answer the ultimate question at happysoulindustry.com: How Are You? Well, today I am a happy soul. I have gratitude. And so I want to talk about gratitude in the cynical world of advertising…
Today we participated in the third and final round of a new business pitch. I won’t name the client but it had come down to us against my old employer, Leo Burnett. Coming into this session we were in a dead heat. They’d been more impressive in round one whereas we took the second. And now we were at match point. All the marbles, as they say. Our “A” team against their “A” team.
Folks, I live for meetings like this. I love putting our brains against good competition. It’s an honor just to be asked in. Having distinguished ladies and gentleman at the top of their games asking us to help them with communications, with getting to the next level. What do you want to do when you grow up?
However you look at the pitching process, we are on a stage. Weeks of preparation, maybe months: the day of reckoning beckons us to our marks. It is a relay. Today ours was also a marathon. 6 hours! Each member of our team had a segment and in turn was relied upon to set up the next. If our arguments were made deftly, in time, and with passion we have a new client. If not, we don’t.
Don’t you love it? I do. Long ago the euphoria of coming up with killer ideas and arguing for them became my Valhalla. While I adore the craftsmanship required in making stellar ads, nothing compares to pitching them. The best idea needs the best team in order to win. If we have both I am in advertising heaven.
The Gods of Advertising shined on us today. We had our best stuff. If we do not prevail it will be because a venerable powerhouse kicked our ass. I know today we did not lose. We may have been beaten. But failure was not self-made. Only waiting is agony.
If all this sounds like a psychotic ramble (Dan Draper on acid), it is! I’m no longer an awards show whore. I don’t do drugs and alcohol. I am an idea junkie and nothing delivers the goods like a monster pitch. This is why I have gratitude. I get paid to do something I feel so good doing that it actually gets me high. And it’s a natural high, an earned one. Last night I stayed up writing the words I would later deliver. My teammates did their version of same. And man, we hit it. We hit it good.
Afterwards, the clients presumably satiated and tucked into their limos home, I collapsed on the couch in my office. (I have a couch; there’s something to be grateful for!) I was completely drained. I had peaked. Win or lose, I felt good. I had the utmost gratitude for being invited, for the effort of my colleagues, and for my part in it.
The look in everyone’s eyes when we closed… It doesn’t get any better than that.