How may pitching change after being banned?
Most creatives agree that pitching can be problematic. It is a high pressure, high stakes process where the agencies compete against the clock and against each other to come up with brilliant ideas for no financial reward.
"There are many analogies with pitching and that it is, in some ways, unique and strange," says Caroline Paris, creative director at Brave. "You wouldn't get three builders to come over and build something for you and then pay the one you like the most. It seems absolutely ridiculous to think about it in other worlds. I think it's an agency stress test, and I think it could definitely be stricter and fairer. "
While some creatives could thrive in this environment – Paris describes itself as someone enjoying this brief, intense burst of creativity – it undoubtedly takes a toll on those involved. And it gets even more difficult during lockdown, when agencies are forced to remotely connect with clients and creatives come up with ideas from the free space they have in their homes. To make matters worse, it all happened against a backdrop of dwindling work, layoffs and an ongoing global crisis.
They don't always know how well you're coming off or how well they're taking the job, both logistically and emotionally
Paris has witnessed some of these difficulties firsthand, explaining that the rapidly changing things meant that the pitches Brave was working on when the lockdown began wasn't necessarily relevant later, resulting in weeks of lost time. She also says that the inability to get face-to-face made things more difficult, with a number of people unable to repeat the chemistry of the face-to-face meeting on a Zoom call. "They can share a mood board, which is a really powerful and emotional job, but when [the customer] has a shitty internet connection, they get a stuttering experience," she adds. "You don't always know how good you are coming off or how well they are doing the job, both logistically and emotionally."
Despite all the difficulties that the coronavirus has brought with it, it has also forced the creative industry to embrace the changes that have been discussed for years – flexible working hours and remote working are important examples. So can we expect this to extend into pitching?