Thursday, November 1, 2012

1859, a very good year

Last week, there was an article in Adweek about PearleVision.

They were conducting an agency review. I was surprised to read that they had been with Arnold for the last six years.

There was a time when PearleVision, like many serial agency hoppers -- I'm looking at you Jiffy Lube, El Pollo Loco and Jenny Craig -- would burn out an agency every two years.

Sadly, I was on the receiving end of one of those pitches way back in the mid-90's. This was at a time when Chiat, and many other agencies, were adopting the collaborative pitch process.

If we were to be marketing partners, the thinking went, we needed to partner up with the potential client as many times as possible before the actual pitch. And so we would get caught in this endless loop of "tissue" sessions with lower level PearleVision clients who thought they had 20/15 vision and knew exactly what the bosses were looking for.

And every week, the second guessing was second guessed.

The process was tortuous. And instead of going into the final pitch with a boatload of enthusiasm ("Damn, I hope we win this account"), we'd end up drained, pale and listless ("Thank god, I can't wait til this is over").

In the end, we did win the account.

And management, bless their heart, told the creative team to go out for a celebration dinner. So my bosses, Tony Stern and Jeff Roll, rabbis without credential, took 10 of us in total, to Michael's, one of the most expensive restaurants on the Westside.

Because we had been put through such hell and because the client was being billed for the dinner, the goal, Tony said, was to have a great time. Oh, and to "do some major damage."

If there's one thing creatives know how to do, apart from making great ads, it's spending other people's money. There were starters before the starters. Appetizers that ran the length of the table. And the only entrees that were ordered were Market Priced.

We did some damage.

And before it was over, the waiter brought an after dinner desert menu that featured some very exclusive liquors, including a $500 bottle of cognac that was corked just before President Lincoln was shot.

Naturally, we ordered a bottle 1859 vintage cognac and a snifter was filled for everyone at the table.

It was nasty, tasted like kerosene, and brought a scowl to everyone's face.
The second bottle wasn't any better.

1 comment:

dave trott said...

Great last line.