Has the pitch process become self-destructive and obsolete?

If you read your online news, you might be excused for thinking the brave new world is already upon us – with digital channels outperforming traditional ones, artificial intelligence moving driverless cars and robots about to replace your job sometime soon.

It’s just that in branding and advertising, this change has gone unnoticed. And the way we work, the way we handle clients and present to them has remained unchanged since the era of Mad Men.

Now that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if it’s working. But is isn’t, and never has. Recent reports of similarities between ideas used in a pitch and the following campaign (by another agency) speak to that.

So last week, I was in a client briefing session for a project, together with a handful of other branding and advertising agencies. The client explained what the brand stood for, where they were coming from and their expectations for the branding project pitch.

Since they were not too sure about their current perception, research would be necessary. And yes, the budget would be sufficient but no, they could not give a number.