“You have one new message.”

“You have one new message.”

We’ve always told clients, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” But now that our agency is on the receiving end of that advice, well, I’m not so sure. Would you call them back?


55 thoughts on ““You have one new message.”

  1. Lubna Abu-Osba says:

    Yes. Absolutely Yes. Are you kidding me, of course yes!


  2. David says:

    David — in the middle of last season, I would have said don’t waste your time. However, now I know that at least one of the agencies involved (because I know them personally) has gotten invited to pitch business just because they were on the show. Ask yourself — how much do you need new business?


  3. Diane says:

    Yikes! Go for it!! I cannot think of a downside. Exposure, exposure, exposure. Just be yourself, everyone will fall in love with you no matter the outcome.


  4. Bob Sanders says:

    Why Declining to Participate in AMC’s “The Pitch” is a Huge Mistake

    Awareness: To grow, a marketing firm needs new business. And new business revolves around awareness. Three years from now no one will remember who won or who lost, but they will remember “oh, that’s right, the firm on The Pitch!” What a lost opportunity for the grand old ladies on Madison Avenue who sat out.

    Branding: The agency brand is the foundation of any new business program. By being on national TV you have an opportunity to refine and clearly state your brand– for clients, prospects, staff, and top talent. Being in the public light is only the first step of building an identifiable brand, clearly communicating that brand is critical.

    Process: Let’s face facts, shall we? Agencies of all types are being faulted for a variety of strategic handicaps, including not providing strategic leadership, for poor linkage between strategy development and creative recommendations, and for confusing account planning with communications strategy. Standing in the spotlight these brave marketing firms have the opportunity to move from that hazy gray marketing gobbly-speak and showcase their strategic chops.

    People: This is a chance to showcase what is often called in the world of ad agencies “the most important assets” on national TV – the people. This is the time for the best and brightest to shine. The firms that are participating in “The Pitch” are placing real people on center stage.

    Presentation: “The Pitch,” at its very root, is all about an agency’s ability to present successfully for the business. Standing on a national stage and giving a presentation is an opportunity that must be accepted. How can anyone miss an opportunity to stand on a very public stage and do something that should be natural for most advertising agencies?

    Closing Thoughts

    The advertising industry wasn’t built by agencies doing credential presentations. The industry was built by smart agency people sitting across the desk from clients who had problems. Those smart agency people then had the skills quickly resolve the problems and were then awarded the accounts. And that is exactly what “The Pitch” is all about.

    And this is why I’m calling out the agencies that sat out “The Pitch” as old wallflowers, lost in the shuffle and afraid to face the changing landscape. No matter how much we may cringe and scoff and laugh at the agencies that were brave enough to be on the show, I salute them. Go forth brave agencies, and just keep winning.


  5. Jeroen Bours says:

    We’ve been asked twice. Long before the start of the show and recently again. Twice we said no. And frankly – after seeing the Ad Store guy take his partner home to work some more – oh wait it’s his LOVER, we thought that we made the right decision. It’s not about advertising – it’s another reality show that doesn’t really spark. I have yet to meet a normal non-advertising person who raves about the show. Let’s just say this, if I were the producer, I would have pulled the plug a long time ago.


  6. John Corbitt says:

    I think any ad agency, designer, illustrator in the end is always judged by their ability to come up with great concepts. Period.

    But what the show can do is get your name out there in the minds of potential clients and that alone is enough reason to participate in the show. But again, once they call, the client will not care one whit about how good you looked on the show. It will be all about what can you do for my business today. And that’s how it should be.

    So go for it!


  7. Adam Fels says:

    Well, it’s a totally different question after learning that the woman didn’t actually say “ciao”

    I think common courtesy almost demands that you call her back. If you talk to her and decide the whole thing isn’t worth it ( and my guess is that’s where you wind up….) then that speaks to them. But if you don’t call her back, that speaks to you, and not well.

    But with that said, I’d be about as jaded as a Marxist Fox News Anchor person when I took the call. I’d wonder aloud how twenty Agency heads were profiled and almost all 20 came across as egotistical, overbearing, obnoxious asshats (give or take 1 or 2.). Now, it is advertising, so it’s quite possible that all 20 actually are egotistical, overbearing, obnoxious asshats ( give or take 1 or 2).

    But it’s more likely that the scared ones, the demanding ones, the inept ones, and the over aggressive ones were all filmed, questioned, and edited to come across as the same egotistical, overagressive, and obnoxious asshat. I would then voice a deep deep concern about becoming #21, or #27 or whatever # I was in the sequence.

    I’d then ask questions about how the show will change, what they learned from a tedious season1 and then I’d probably be very sweet and polite in issuing a “no thanks”….

    But that’s me.

    Now if she had actually said “Ciao”….


  8. Julie K says:

    Oh wow. I’ve never seen the show, but I know people felt the agencies didn’t come off in the best light. On the other hand, as you adroitly point out, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

    Have you reached out to people who’ve actually been on the show? That perhaps would be your best barometer…


  9. Mark Cacciatore says:

    I haven’t watched this show. How have past seasons reflected on the agencies featured. My first response is, “Hell No.”


  10. Mike Gustafson says:

    I don’t like the premise of the show. It pulls back the curtain on what we do as creatives. But the publicity of being on the show could bring business. But, that’s only if you don’t drop the ball. Don’t drop the ball.


  11. Miriam Hara says:

    This is a good way to break through the “clutter” we as marketers always refer to. It would be a huge MISS if you don’t go for it.

    Think of it as a pitch for new business. Prep your people, make sure those that are articulate have “key roles” in the process. Make sure you showcase your agency properly… and don’t mess up.


  12. Ed Galm says:

    Do it.

    The only people who watch the show are in advertising so what could it hurt? The only downside is if you’re the agency with obnoxious jackass representing you.
    Good Luck!


  13. Dion Hughes says:

    big agencies don’t need the publicity but do have the resources to handle the distraction of the production. small agencies do need the publicity but don’t have the resources. net: as a small agency, do it IF you are confident in your team and that the cameras wouldn’t reveal any fundamental flaws. IF you can make some spare time and capacity. more advice, this time unasked for. if you do it, only show your boldest work. don’t try to ‘win’. observation is that past victors who did it with shitty work looked worse than the losers who pitched bravely.

    good luck sir.


  14. Greg DiNoto says:

    downside: they’re reality show producers — they could give a crap about documenting the smarts of your agency — they don’t care about the brilliant line you’ve drawn from strategic insight through to execution. (In fact it’s clear from watching the show, they don’t have a very sophisticated understanding of our business) They are however, interested in conflict, personality flaws, petulant and impulsive dressings down — all in the interest of fomenting crisis and generating drama. You are leaving your reputation in the hands of people who exploit the very currencies that drive Jersey Shore and Real Housewives. Additionally, it’s impossible to convey what we do in this format. TV reduces all the richness of strategic and creative development to sound bytes. In sum, I’ve seen people I know and respect drawn as cartoony, or small… Darren Stevens-like. And I’ve seen people I think are not very strong painted as geniuses.

    upside: awareness, content for the agency’s pr machine (including the answers in this forum:) possibly the opportunity to shine the light on your agency and what it stands for, possibly the opportunity to showcase interactions that would make you look smart, and possibly the chance to show off great work — subject to an editorial whim that is unconcerned with all of the above.

    I would watch the shows — all of them — before you decide. And if you go for it, don’t try to correct for all the bullshit I just pointed out. You’ll stymie yourselves. Be who you are. What you stand for is as good an inoculation against carny television as any…


  15. Karen Garamella says:

    I think it’s a great opportunity for a small agency. I say do it!!!


  16. Guy Bommarito says:

    I wouldn’t do it. I think these kind of programs are crap. Worse, they are a distraction from what you should be doing: 1. focusing on doing great work 2. focusing on building your clients’ businesses. You want publicity? Do great creative. You want to look like an idiot in front of a national audience. Roll the dice and take your chances on “The Pitch.” (Just remember. The producers of this show are not looking to display your professionalism and expertise. They want controversy. They want egos run amok. They want a show. The dumber you look, the better they like it. And if you don’t look dumb enough, they control the final edit.)


  17. Thomas Christmann says:

    do it.


  18. Shawn Couzens says:

    Have you seen the show? I watched the whole season – and I was shocked that they brought it back. It was a disappointment. In addition, more often than not, the agencies look bad. Even the winners. And the work presented often is subpar. Folks at home think, “I can do better than that.”

    The only reason I’d consider doing it is if you’re a small unknown agency and really need the publicity. I think a large agency would be crazy to partake.

    Good luck,



  19. Chris Derylo says:

    A chance to be on national TV…hmmmm…YES! And you’re the perfect David to beat Goliath, like you’ve done before. I’ve never seen the show, but I think it would make great reality TV if they discovered your creative inspirations come through practicing voodoo under a full moon.


  20. Nancy says:

    It sounds like a good opportunity initially, but I would call her back and find out all the details – including what you can and cannot say or do, what’s entailed in the contract, before you make your final decision.


  21. Steve Centrillo says:

    David, listen hard to Greg DiNoto. There is one upside – the attention the show will get you and the ability to merchandise that coverage. But you will have no control over how your brand is represented; always a risk, but even more so when you consider the motives of those who will control it.


  22. Andy Crestodina says:

    First, a hat tip for the fantastic move of making the image with the quote, posting the question and asking for input. That is the move of a marketing champion. You’re already getting value out of this.

    I’ve never seen the show, so I don’t feel super qualified to comment, but my gut is saying pretty much what everyone else is: go for it. I especially liked Bob’s thoughtful reply.

    But it’s a personal decision. You would be choosing to be used by them in exchange for some value/fun for yourself.

    I know someone who was on Shark Tank and had a great experience. If you’d like to talk to him, just let me know!


  23. George says:

    Before saying no, I’d really look to find out if the agencies that did appear last year got a boost in business. What happened AFTER the shows?

    Like “Shark Tank” whether or not you get a deal, the national exposure is valuable. On this show, most of the agencies came off looking pretty competent. The producers didn’t try to make them look like total morons. What was the value of them doing it after the show? That would be my first move.


  24. anenglishmaninla says:

    Park your ego and decline the offer. The point of this show is to manufacture drama by exposing personality conflicts and flaws not to showcase agency talent.


  25. Cindy Walas says:

    Hi David – What sort of response did you get from the previous participating agencies? Did they sway you one way or the other? Otherwise, my feeling is to go for it! I think Mike Pollack pretty much nailed it.

    Good luck, and let me know if you need any help.


  26. Mark Silveira says:

    Seems like a good time to apply one of those cardinal rules of advertising: consider the audience. If you determine the audience for “The Pitch” is reasonably well populated with people you could a) do your best work for, and b) tolerate working with, then by all means do it. If not, don’t (and save yourself the bother of getting contacted by a bunch of people you’ll wish hadn’t).


  27. Marissa L says:

    Firstly, I am not at all a fan of reality tv. The amount of effort put into making the content interesting tends to present a picture entirely different from what was originally filmed.

    That being said, I’ve never seen the show, so I’m not sure how much weight my opinion holds.

    It is true that one of the fundamental rules of PR is that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

    It would be great for getting your name out there as long as you know there are no major problems within your agency that could get exploited by the limelight.

    If you trust your employees and your work, go for it! Just tread carefully.

    Thanks for inviting me to the discussion David!


  28. Tracy Fortson says:

    David – great to hear from you, my friend!!!
    So, first off – you do realize that whatever you decide will work out just fine, right??

    When faced with such decisions, I ask myself some really basic questions:

    “Would this experience be exciting? bring me joy? attract new business?”

    “What is my intention/hope to accomplish?”

    “What’s the worse that could happen?”

    Although not deep or earth shattering, suche questions have been helpful for me when considering new opportunities. Once I’ve answered them, I can typically make a decision.

    Also, have you ever watched the show? and if so, did you like it?


  29. Mike LaMonica says:

    I’d call Tracy and Paul Capelli and a couple of others and see what they got out of it.
    If they got nothing out of it, I’m sure you have other things to do. If they did, I’m sure you’d do great.

    I’ll offering to freelance for you on it and be certain to add the right kind of drama 🙂


  30. Matt McDermott says:

    I’m not going to retread what everyone else has said, David. I’ll simply say: yes. The awareness, the opportunity, and above all else, the thrill of doing what you love in front of thousands – that’d be enough to convince me. The high stakes make it all the more intoxicating.
    Do it.


  31. Michael says:



  32. Mike Marn says:


    Flattering, tempting, etc etc etc. It’s an ego stroke, of course. But sometimes we creative types don’t come across very well under the hot lights. (I’m not sure if that’s whether, under that kind of pressure, we act differently, or because we DON’T.)
    But I’m thinking that, while publicity seems to be a no-brainer – you really wouldn’t (if you were being honest) have much respect for a client who asked you to pitch because you were on “that TV show.”

    Unless, of course, you were SURE you could present yourself as utilizing a unique angle or approach that separates the way you work from other places in way that is OBVIOUS TO NON-INDUSTRY PEOPLE. Then potential clients would have a responsible REASON to call you – and YOU’D have the same to do the show.


  33. Madhu Malhan says:

    A lot of smart advice here.
    My two cents – Do it. But do it for the fun of it.

    It’s a reality show. You’re not going to like some of the ways in which you/your agency are portrayed. You may, or may not, get new leads as a result.

    Just have fun with it. What the heck.



  34. Alan Wolk says:

    Have not been in the agency world in a while, which probably gives me a better perspective.

    And I think you’d be very foolish not to do it.

    Your new business is not going to come from people who’ve watched the show.

    It’s going to come from people who got to your website and seen that you were on the show.

    Or who called a friend who recommended you because you were on the show.

    It gives you legitimacy. It gives whoever wants to hire you ammunition.

    Companies that hire an agency like yours do it on a pretty random basis – best case is they make a bunch of phone calls based on input they’ve gotten from friends/family members/neighbors who are in the business.

    And as they are going through that list and culling it down, your having been on TV is going to carry a lot of weight in the “these guys are legit” column.

    That’s all you need.

    And from a life experience perspective, it’s pretty cool too.


  35. Steve Hayden says:

    David… much depends on the size and position of your firm, and, of course, on how you think you’ll do. All of the agencies I’ve seen on The Pitch are small and struggling. A win makes them look good, but a loss doesn’t necessarily make them look bad. There is a distinct possibility that your current clients, seeing you “going Hollywood”, might be pissed off that the principals are spending too much time on the pitch and not enough on their businesses. New business is tricky that way. Your wife doesn’t want to know that you’re hanging out in a singles bar. We certainly never discussed it with current business.

    That said, if you’re at one of those difficult transition points that small agencies face — $5 to $10-million, $10-million to $20-million, $25-million to $100-million — then maybe this is just what the doctor ordered to get you over the hump. I’ve seen many agencies make that transition, I made it myself at BBDO West when we hit $300-million, and it’s one of the hardest things you will ever do. So your concern (dare I call it paranoia?) is well-justified. I’ve remained staunchly paranoid, and it’s paid off.

    Hope this helps…



  36. David Sweet says:

    WWSD –
    1) watch all the shows
    2) See how they won (Subway Rap Talent Jingle Acquired, Web USA promo had all domains REGISTERED/plan completed, etc..)
    3) Prepare for the show by (ask to learn more about PREPARATION)
    4) Remember that this is no big deal, as you have a top brand and all brands try many many things before they come up with the plan to kill their competition. Ask me how Coke stole the #2 spot from Pepsi (1st time in 100 yrs) after their Open Happiness branding after our happiness branding photo shoot. (Even though the Pepsi FB promo went viral,
    5) Summary: It always better to Try and Fail, than Fail at Trying, or you will look like you have no game. Today it all about gamification of all brands in all medias.


  37. Marky Mark says:

    Wow, David, look how much buzz you’ve already generated with your email. Imagine the buzz the TV show would bring about. The only question is, how would &vertising come off? Then again, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Let me know what happens.


  38. Pam Neuburg says:

    Fame is short-lived.


  39. Jef Loeb says:

    David – Actually, maybe better to ask WWGD (Goodby), WWDD (Deutch), and/or WWCPD (Crispin Porter)? Despite being among the most successful self-promoters (a positive thing), none of them have yet made an appearance on the show. On the other hand, Tracy Wong did, and he’s no slouch, as did Boone Oakley, a good shop – so there you go.

    Since you talk about being “paralyzed,” I’m betting you know most of this, but here’s a few of the things that would run through my mind in similar circumstances: 1) you can’t really game reality show cameras; they will sniff out and focus on angst and conflict wherever it exists – are you ready for that? 2) Nor is there any realistic expectation of “fair” or “accurate” from this format – its entertainment, not education. 3) How you and your staff play on TV is a real crapshoot – there’s a reason most people don’t do well in this medium. 4) Personal POV is that most of last season’s agencies came across as either unlikeable or fairly desperate – who knows if either is true – and there are consequences to that. 6) Under the heading of “never join a club that would have you as a member,” you have to wonder whether the clients who also agree to participate are really going to be terribly serious about it – and whether the assignments are really difference-makers.

    On the other hand, if most of us in the business weren’t at least mildly delusional, we’d probably be doing something else in life that might be attached to white sand beaches, sparkling blue water, and oodles of cash.

    With that: before you call – never hurts to talk – I’d sit down with your team, take a look at a few of the shows, and decide if folks are up for the fun fest that follows. I’d also think it through as if it were a marketing program for a client (after all, it more or less is), and that starts with creating a brief that will keep everyone focused on the mission and its objectives.

    While that won’t necessarily guarantee you any particular outcome – going in well prepared is going to be way better than the opposite. By the way, that probably should also include calling up Tracy or one of the folks from last year and ask them about the experience.

    Hope this helps. Think I’ll print out “WWLD?” and put it on the wall somewhere in hopes it’ll catch on.




  40. Jelena says:

    If you do it, read up on tomandlorenzo.com on how not to appear like a jerk on reality TV. Look at their posts about “All on the Line” in particular. If you give the producers ANYTHING they can use to make an ass of you, they will. I have two good friends who are involved in reality TV, and both have told me flat out, “Please never be involved with reality TV.”


  41. Sean Tierney says:

    I haven’t seen the show, but it is safe to say that as tv producers, they are going to have their way with you and your agency. If you watch all the existing shows and you are comfortable with any one of those agencies being you – it might be worth considering.

    No new business is coming in the door from the show itself BUT being on the show will get the name David Wojdyla added to the contact lists of a bunch of spunky little producers of news & talk shows. That makes you a new ‘go to’ resource whenever they need an ‘Ad Expert’. In the ‘Ad Expert’ capacity – now on a legit news show, armed with your big brain, easy going manner & winning smile, you would of course shine. That’s where the new business leads would come from. You never know who is watching, & impressing a big ‘who’ could get you into big pitches that your agency would have never be considered for otherwise.

    If you think current clients would get a kick out of the show, and it wouldn’t jeopardize those relationships I’d say go for it. It’d be great fun & I love LaMonica’s idea, he’ll freelance to add drama and I’ll volunteer to team up with him to supply the comedy, cursing, boozing & sleeping at the agency. Be well.


  42. Michael Pollock says:

    Certainly – go for it. But be aware of what you are doing. Be clear in your own mind about what how you want to come across and what you want to get out of it so that you can manage your contributions accordingly. Good luck.


  43. Perry Schaffer says:

    Got a hunch, bet a bunch. Seriously, it’s a tough call but IF – any you better be – super proud of your people and process – Go For It. Worst comes to worst, you’ll only embarrass yourself and destroy your agency 😉

    It’s a great opportunity to build awareness. You do it for clients, why not for yourself.

    And…as I previously advised, talk to those who came before you, especially the ones’s who didn’t win. Smart to get their take on it, no?



  44. Julius Weil says:

    If you haven’t yet, call her back, Courtesy, aside they chose to call you, so by their standards you are Pitch material and worthy of promotion. I personally would not do it. I watched 3 episodes. The Bozell one, a total lie and manipulation of the truth, Everyone looked foolish with the exception of the losing agency. Client looked like racist fools. My take. ad and marketing people see it and shake our collective heads at the shallow nature of the show and the process. The payoff is not winning a client it’s getting a one time crumb. I’d stay clear.


  45. Honey Parker says:

    I’ll likely have every thought listed above, then make a choice and do every thing in my power to make that choice be the right one.

    Congrats on the nod, this thread, your skill and obvious boyish charm.


  46. Guy Tucker says:

    Talk with my friends David Oakley and John Boone about their experience?



  47. Steve Nelson says:

    Packing weeks of work done by a pride of creatives (coven would be more alliterative but no more appropriate) on behalf of a prospective client into a one hour show (I only watched the premier episode and it felt like an hour) really diminishes the effort on-air. That said I’d do this in a heartbeat. I also know lots of other agency folks are involved in the new business process but this show is really all about the big concept reveal. For a modestly sized shop with a big creative in charge the show is perfect. If they pronounce your name correctly. Do it. Do it up.


  48. Amy says:

    Sounds like a great opportunity. I say go for it! Please let us know how things work out!


  49. Marian T. says:

    David – The comments above are from both of those lecterns we so often had drummed into us by our fave CMO. Yes, it’s risky, and yes, it’s an opportunity to get the word out about your agency and hopefully attract new clients. There is no right or wrong decision, just the one that feels best in your gut.

    That said, I agree with Dion Hughes: if you’re going to do it, then be bold. Do work that clearly showcases what & wojdyla stands for and your philosophy and approach to the business of advertising. Those that identify with it will see you as a winner, and those that don’t, well do you really care? They wouldn’t be good clients anyway!
    Either way, you’ve already won – by the invitation, recognition, and response!


  50. Geoge Sezemsky says:

    Wow! What an opportunity!

    David, I think I have seen the show once or twice. The potential is huge and yes you should do it.

    The real opportunity is to show your process and how you interact with your clients. As we all know there are some customers that you do not want to sign as you get to know them. And, focusing how you approach the project will be the best part of the experience. The decision is only one customer and the viewing audience will be all over the spectrum.

    So, go for it. Make sure you have the resources to devote to such a project before signing on to do it.

    Best regards;



  51. Pam Witzig says:

    What an interesting problem for you! I’m on the “all publicity is good” page and pretty much down the line with Dion Hughes here. I hope you can go with it and have a great experience.


  52. pete van bloem says:

    Do it, David.

    But, ask to be paid – half up front – for your time and expenses (based on your estimate). You’re a professional, running a business – and professionals don’t do work for free.

    Make a big deal about accepting the invitation to be in The Pitch with that one, small caveat. Put it on your blog – video tape the conversation, even if it’s just a phone call. Press release it to every advertising trade site you can – and the non-industry ones too. You want a big splash that says, “&vertising Is In The Pitch.”

    That way, if the potential client agrees to your terms, great. You’ll do terrific work, have fun in the process, maybe even get some good footage on the show.

    If the potential client refuses, bow out of the pitch. Make a big deal – same media – about how disappointed you are (b/c your agency was so stoked to work on it, they already had great ideas, etc), but, as a professional, we don’t work for free and it wouldn’t be fair to your existing clients to steal time and talent away from them.

    Either way, you’ve solidified your agency’s position as a professional firm, willing to stand by its convictions.

    Thanks for asking and hope you find this perspective helpful.


  53. Yesterday, someone asked, “so how did you get so many comments?!”

    Well, to help increase readership and generate comments, I simply exported a list of my LinkedIn connections and sent a personalized e-mail. To. each. person. One. at. a. time.

    (If you took time to reply above or by email, I am sooo grateful. Thank you for your help!)

    Most important thing I learned? There really IS such a thing as BAD publicity.

    As a result, andwojdyla is NOT going to be on AMC’s “The Pitch.”


  54. Cindy Walas says:

    Hi David –

    Thanks for the update on your choice. It was fun being part of your decision-making process!


  55. ditto what Cindy said


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