• Benign Dictatorship

– Leading the perfect team pitch


Wine Talks

In the ten years that I worked for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, we pitched several times against the same agency. In the interests of decency I wons't name it, but it was also based on the U.S. West Coast and had a very strong creative reputation.

Every time we pitched against this agency, we won. It was weird, because the law of averages alone should have ensured that we lost at least once or twice. But each time the same thing happened. We would be named on the same pitch list, along with maybe two or three other agencies—a cast of extras that seemed to change each time—and at the end we would be awarded the business.

Of course we liked to think that it was because of the brilliance of our strategic insights and the excellence of our creative solutions—in other words, the quality of our answers to the task we had been set. It was a good assumption, so good in fact that we didn't want to spoil it by actually asking a new client if it were true.

One day, however, we held a dinner to consummate a relationship with a client who had just hired us in preference to, among others, our near neighbors. It was, if my memory serves me correctly, an extremely good dinner held in a private dining room at Boulevard in San Francisco. By some strange and welcome twist of fate, our new client shared our enthusiasm ...

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