AMC gives a glimpse inside agency life in ‘The Pitch’

Capitalizing on the mad success of “Mad Men,” AMC last night offered a sneak preview episode of its new reality series “The Pitch,” during which two ad agencies go head to head for assignments.

It seems pretty insider to me, but if people are voyeuristic enough to thrill to the minutia of kitchens and board rooms, why not ad agencies?

David Gianatasio of Ad Age was skeptical.

“Check out the trailer below for all the high drama — walls of Post-it notes, meticulously detailed whiteboard presentations, and bored, balding white guys plotting strategy.”

In the opening epside, McKinney and WDCW competed for the opportunity to promote Subway’s breakfasts to an 18-25 demo. They had a week to come up with something brilliant.

I think WDCW was onto something with a zombie theme, the idea that young people are like zombies in the morning looking for food. It could have worked, but they took the idea one step too far, creating the new term: “zAMbies” … morning zombies. The zAMbies clearly didn’t quite connect with the Subway folks, probably because it takes too much time to explain, and in doing so takes the consumer too far from the brand.

Subway went with McKinney’s “Freestyle Breakfast” and “Let’s Fix Breakfast” pitch, which worked because they enlisted a clever rapper to serve as the centerpiece. (The right performer, model, etc., can make anybody look good.)

I was surprised we didnt’ see more Insight and consumer research, really examining cultural trends, eating habits and context.

In considering the young demo,  maybe a better approach would have been to compete against cold pizza instead of other fast-food giants.

I also liked what “misfitbarbie” suggested on the AMC blog. She proposed that Subway reach that young demo with parodies of “The Hunger Games” or “Harold and Kumar.”

One of the lingering questions after this first episode is this: Would appearing on this show necessarily be good publicity?

Here are typical Tweets from this morning: “I just can’t get over how stupid these ideas are. How is this company in business?” … “Watching #thepitch preview. It’s too bad AMC chose agencies full of hacks. Brutal.” … “It is not possible for our industry to be filmed for a reality show & not look like dickheads. @amc_tv #thepitch

I think our agency would do well on the show because we’re clever, telegenic and super creative. But I’m guessing they all go in thinking that.

“The Pitch” officially premieres on Monday,  April 30.