DIGO Brands AMC’s The Pitch
Was it really like that?
Hundreds of hours were edited down to 40 minutes. It’s hard to appreciate just how little time that is until you see how much of what you remember is left out.
For example, we presented about two hours of innovative, on-brand, integrated work that we would have loved for everyone to see. Our campaign spanned well over one hundred slides and included lots of digital, print, outdoor, guerrilla, environmental, and experiential elements, all of which connected to our strategy and our theme in overt and creative ways.
Pictures of dozens of people staying up all night staring at computer screens, writing, thinking and making stuff apparently doesn’t make great TV, so you didn’t see much of the many, many contributions from all corners of the agency. Visits to the store, the C.Wonder room we created at the agency and how much Chris and the C.Wonder team loved discovering it, along with hours and hours of creative refinement all ended up on the metaphorical cutting-room floor.
And we feel you missed lots of signs of how well we were doing. We certainly felt confident all the way to the finish line, with the single exception of that moment when we first unveiled our theme line and the clients had, shall we say, a little trouble warming up to it.
Yet, on the whole, the editors got it pretty much right.
Did you have a lot of big boards like the other agency?
No. This time, we brought one board and presented the rest of the campaign digitally. When the ideas are memorable, this style of presenting can make the prospective client hungry to see it again and hungry for more.
Why did Mark talk about 9/11?
Mark recorded a three-hour interview in which he talked about the entire sixteen-year history of DIGO. We believe the editors chose to include that segment because it spoke to the larger theme of agencies in New York City and their resilience. It’s also one piece of history that is relatable to people everywhere and a huge piece of our collective consciousness that will always be associated with New York.
Did you know it was going to be a “women vs. men” themed episode?
No, we didn’t.
The truth is WomenKind has men in management and DIGO also has strong managers who happen to be women. But WomenKind does specialize in marketing to women, while DIGO markets to many different target audiences.
The “specialists vs. the generalists” does not make for a great viewership campaign slogan. We’re happy they chose a theme that would attract interest and viewership, and we’re sure it was interesting to see whether people who don’t look like the target audience can succeed in creating work that connects.
Our belief: Knowledge and experience are important, of course, but most important of all is empathy. Through empathy, we can express the experience of others. Through the combination of empathy and mastery of our craft, we can even communicate in such a way that the audience feels we are speaking for them.
That’s our goal, always.
How did the agencies get along during the process?
There wasn’t a lot of interaction during the process, but the time we spent together in the briefing room was cordial, respectful and collaborative. Of course, that sort of footage doesn’t set up a good battle.
We felt nothing but respect from and for WomenKind. This is a small industry, and those of us who have chosen this work almost always have more in common than separates us. We, most of all, respect people who do this work at a high level.
We were delighted to have such strong competition.
Now that you’ve seen it, what did you think of WomenKind’s campaign?
We think it’s dangerous to assume that we have seen it. We’re certain they presented much more than the editors could show.
Based on what we saw on TV, we know much more about the marketing tactics than we do about the brand communications campaign that would have tied them together. It comes across as if that essential thread was thin or absent. But, we would have to get into the details on those beautifully designed boards to really feel like we know and appreciate all that was there.
What was Chris Burch really like?
To spend an hour with Chris Burch is to know that he brings immense vision, ideas, energy and style to everything he does.
What you may not realize from watching the show is that the leaders and managers around him are absolutely first rate, which is a testament to his judgment and confidence, as well as his talents. There is no way he could lead so many successful businesses without first-rate leaders with the authority to make things happen.
When Chris is in the room, his energy fills it up. He says exactly what he thinks. This may have struck some people as rude, but it didn’t feel that way in the room. It felt challenging, exciting, and clarifying. And it also felt warm. He promotes and praises his team just as much as he does his brands, and you just didn’t see that on TV.
More than anything, he is a great brand leader with clarity of vision and the courage to set a high standard.
Did Chris and Ruth really argue?
What you saw on the show really happened.
As you could see, Mark had mixed feeling about putting two such strong personalities together in a room. Ruth takes pride in her objectivity just as Chris takes pride in knowing his customer like no one else in the world. He wasn’t going to be lectured to about his customer and she wasn’t going to easily accept being challenged on her objectivity.
In the end, no one was “clocked” and we won the business. Just another day in advertising!
Beyond that, Chris seemed to really enjoy Ruth’s intensity and strength and to enjoy some vigorous debate with someone so smart. He’s a fan!
Did they really hate “A great mood can change the world” as much as it seemed they did?
Absolutely. At first.
But what happened over the two hours of presentation, as they saw all of the ideas that this theme inspired, they saw how well it connected to their mission in the world and to their customer’s sense of herself.
They still thought the word “mood” would probably need to change, but in the end they all agreed that the core idea was, “Actually very smart.”
Is your creative team really “all male”?
Absolutely not. DIGO is committed to diversity in every sense of the word. Diversity of experience, diversity of ideas, and diversity of team are essentials of the most innovative, creative work. Our leadership and our team consist of an extremely diverse group and that diversity includes gender. Female writers, art directors, designers, developers and producers all contributed important work to our pitch.
Was the creative process as easy as it looked?
No, and it never is. Internally, Mark and Phil pushed multiple teams to explore a plethora of ideas – not just the one campaign and two executions you saw on the show. But showing all of that would take hours and hours, and this was a one-hour reality show, not the DIGO mini-series.
Did a lot of people see the show?
Yes! We’re delighted that our episode was the most watched, highest-rated episode to date.
Is DIGO actually doing real work for C. Wonder?
We are indeed. Our values and culture mesh together quite well, and we’ve been working together to evolve the campaign to meet their marketing and brand-building needs. Both agency and client are excited about the process, the campaign, and the success that lies ahead. We expect to launch this year.
Follow Mark on Twitter @markdimassimo