Training – with beer.
A while back our account management were charged with working on a pitch – internal training with a difference. The brief was beer – something the majority of our lads and ladettes (at least after a few jars I’m told) have experience of, if not marketing it, then certainly on the consumption side. In a nutshell the brief was to develop a brand that would achieve differentiation in the crowded beer market. What would it be called, who would they target, where would it be sold and where would they pitch it as far as price? They were split into teams (‘master brewers’) of two and had 15 minutes to share their thinking with us.
The big day.
Pitch day was yesterday and I think I’m right in saying that everyone, not least the panel, had a really enjoyable day, with a few lessons learnt. Sure, there were a few late nights and it came ‘at just so the wrong time’, but as we all know this is part of real life pitching. And as with real life pitching there was an upbeat, post pitch mood and a few beers had.
The panel consisted of myself, my learned colleagues Tim Scorer and Emma Jarvis and two old battle hardened ad lag friends of mine and now friends of Hive, Matthew Howells and Dom Lyon. Now I’ve spent many an enjoyable afternoon in pubs with Matthew and Dom, but never have I judged anything with them, with maybe the exception of the local talent.
In fact it wasn’t overly different, just that the talent took on a different form (ideas, although it is true to say some had ‘legs’ and could probably go the distance), but didn’t cost an arm and a leg (what is it with bloody legs) in buying them drinks all night and didn’t leg it afterwards (struggling with my third leg analogy!).
Over legs and back on form.
So we had 5 teams presenting to us in the upstairs room of The Blue Post Pub. There were thrills, spills (literally – poor Helen managed to soak herself in beer that had been intended as a taste test) and some ideas with a difference.
We, the panel, scored them on presentation (i.e. delivery), product idea and strategic argument – to a set criteria including market context, defining the need state, critical discussion points, strategic recommendations and generally challenging conventional thinking and reaching breakthrough ideas.
Breakthrough ideas versus broken glasses.
Overall the quality was fantastic – a real pleasure to observe.
We had fantastic innovative ideas – such as self-chilling beer – which would no doubt bring yet more peace and utter harmony to our tree-hugging festival going friends.
We had fantastic names such as ‘Bucking Fear’ a real alternative for penniless students and ‘Cavalry – you know when it’s time’, a combination of beer and guarana – the healthy option tackling, drinkers dip and maybe even brewers droop.
Some very clear cut targeting with ‘ETE’ and a female target, in this traditionally male market. The female audience was also embraced with AIG – the Goddess of Health – a sophisticated and conscientious alternative to vino collapso.
It’s fair to say that there was learning on both sides of the room.
From the judging point of view it was great to see how much effort had been put in. Pitch theatre, as long as it’s relevant, really does help in dramatising ideas and if there are a myriad of agencies pitching no doubt helps stand-out. Also, the fact that no presentations were delivered via powerpoint did mean there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide – ‘face to camera’ type scenario.
From the pitchers point of view I hope they walked away proud of their efforts and hopefully with a few leanings on how they may have done it differently – it’s only through trial and error than we can up our game.
Many thanks to Matthew and Dom for their excellent feedback to the teams. Well done to Clare and Matt for their winning pitch – ‘Cavalry – you know when it’s time’. They are now the official agency brewers and will be making their beer for real – soon to become our agency beer of choice.
Next time you’re passing feel free to drop in for a jar.