The Best (or Maybe The Worst) Pitch Stories

Inspired by an article on the PR Moment website about the worst ever pitch experiences, we asked everyone for their favourite or worst pitch stories. Much hilarity and a lot of cringe worthy moments ensued, a large number we couldn’t print, but here’s a few we could:

“An Art Director I worked for was asked to be part of a pitch for a Company who were really anti-smoking. The AD was a very big smoker and was told under no circumstances was he allowed to take a break to have a cigarette. Extremely unhappy with this, he finally agreed, only to excuse himself during the pitch ‘to go to the toilet’. Members of his team knew what he was up to and were not happy. 30 minutes had past and he was still not back from the ‘toilet’. One of the clients didn’t want to carry on the pitch without him so suggested they all go and look for him. When they opened the meeting room door he was found unconscious lying on the floor. Someone suggested they open his shirt, only to find he had 8 Nicorette patches on his chest and had overdosed.”

“A tramp did a massive dump, and I mean a massive one, like something an elephant might do, just outside the office in the alleyway just before the client turned up for a pitch. There was a huge panic as everyone tried to work out who was going to move it!”

“I once pitched for an authentic Indian brand and someone had put a picture of the Taliban in the pitch because he looked Indian. The Head of Comms actually spat his tea out, laughing whilst stating “what an inappropriate picture!”

“I was just doing the standard thing of asking for coffee’s, making small talk with one of the Clients, when I plunged a cafetiere of hot coffee down, and in my nervousness, did it too hard and it exploded all over his lap. I jumped up grabbed some napkins, and started rubbing and patting his lap vigorously with paper towels, whilst he tried not to yell in agony, and everyone else looked on not sure what to say or do”

“I spent the weekend away and arrived at a pitch with my weekend bag, which had an electric toothbrush in. Needless to say it went off in the middle of the meeting with a suspicious vibrating sound. I had a good 8 people looking at me with a collective raised eyebrow.”

“We were asked to pitch for a burger company and it was all about the tastiest authentic meat. We pitched an idea about working with a blind school to do blind tasting, a huge tumbleweed moment. The next idea wasn’t much better, cows having to wear fake bread baps on their heads in fields up and down the country saying 100% beef “eat me”. We didn’t win”

“I was at a Client conference and I didn’t realise that one of their incumbent agencies (which was due to present at the end of conference) was in the audience and I spent 10 minutes talking about this lead agency only wanting them for their money. As they came up to present they stopped an introduced themselves to me and said they found my presentation interesting (doh)”

“I was pitching for a tobacco company and the Client pulled out his pack of cigarettes and wanted to light up in the office. When he was informed it was a no smoking office he got really offended and couldn’t believe that we would say that to him.”

“I had so much caffeine before a pitch I spent 45 mins explaining my 5 min section with extremely animated hand gestures. Luckily the Client thought I was quite endearing, whilst eventually the rest of the team told me to “shut up.”

“We had this massive pitch and one of the senior Clients was really old. He spent most of the meeting smoking and then fell asleep during the pitch and kept snoring – he was too senior to wake up and the team just carried on as if nothing was wrong.”

“I was pitching for a client (5 slides in) when the receptionist walked in and interrupted the pitch looking for me. She then very loudly told me that I’d locked my mother in my flat and could I go home to let her out!”

“Arriving at a station and realising it was our stop we all jumped up and bundled off the train. It was only as we were leaving the station that we realised that the laptop with the pitch on was still on the train. It was then a mad panic to work out if anyone had a version on another laptop. The meeting was a complete disaster and we lost the pitch.”

“At my previous agency we decided to add theatre to our pitch and during the presentation at a certain point we jumped up and said “we’ve got a little demonstration for you”. We swiftly rearranged furniture to create a bed of chairs, while bowls, towels and bottles of water were pulled out, which allowed us to water-board a young account man to demonstrate our idea. The account man nearly drowned the Client was left amused, yet slightly shocked, and worst of all we didn’t win the business.”