Didn’t bother actually watching the fifth installment of AMC series The Pitch, which featured a woman-owned agency versus a Black-owned agency. Bee-Line Communications and commonground are both based in Illinois and make quite an odd couple. On many levels, the staged showdown displayed everything that is wrong with The Pitch—as well as our industry.
First of all, the agencies would never have faced off in the real world. Women and Blacks aren't allowed to fight over accounts exclusively reserved for shops run by Old White Guys.
Secondly, for the second time this season, a Black-owned firm won the competition. While not unprecedented, it’s a pretty rare feat when there are no hip-hop celebrities involved. Hey, just had a brainstorm: BET should launch a knockoff of The Pitch—starring all the brand ambassadors like Jay-Z, Diddy, Alicia Keys and Will.i.am.
Third, The Pitch is totally misrepresenting the ad business by potentially leading viewers to think women-owned and Black-owned agencies are commonplace. Things haven’t changed much since Jo Muse created “White Space” and ran it during The Pitch. Hell, things haven’t changed much since Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima hit the scene.
Finally, The Pitch may accelerate its own demise by spotlighting shops such as Bee-Line Communications and commonground. These places barely pique the interest of Madison Avenue and they are even more unlikely to help the AMC program gain a TV audience. Bee-Line Communications and commonground are among the invisible players in our field, which is a sad statement overall—as well as confirmation that anyone who isn’t a White male faces greater challenges in the adgame.