When you're about to enter advertising, lots of people you actually trust butter you up for the industry saying that your life won't be the same, that you're in for a hell of a ride,and the classic line of "get ready".
The problem is that you're too naive to actually look past the creepy smile, the raccoon eyes and the sad reality that you're being told a half truth by people who have woken up at 3 AM thinking they had work on a Saturday and know that it's going to happen to you too. You get all excited and fuzzy just thinking of the great ideas you're going to be bringing to the table and the word pitch still has that exciting quality to it where you still hold it synonymous to adventure, opportunity, proving ground and sessions of pure team work.
Then you have your first pitch and you literally have to ask yourself what the hell you got yourself into as reality sinks in.
True, though not every pitch is dismal and some are actually even interestingly intense in a sadomasochistically enjoyable way, what messes you up is the rate that they come and the place you work at. In my experience, sales pitches were referred to as the second shift, the midnight gauntlet and a labor marathon you're actually protected by law from enduring repeatedly, though you take it because you feel there's no other option.
The shitty reality is that you work until 6 PM and then have to switch gears to get creative. This means long pizza nights, or Chinese Food and the eternal redeye no Visine will do away with. Just in case, please know that good material actually gets produced. Here's the problem though, your two options for what is going to happen to that great material will not make you smile.
Option 1: Some jackoff executive, a lackey VP or even the Agency owner see what you're doing, pat you on the back then tell you what you can change to make it really sink home. We call this sticking a spoon in my food, butting in, shoving your nose where it doesn't belong or just plain old internal sabotage. things start off as a suggestion and eventually escalate to a full on mandate. You see a great idea go down the shitter and it even gets to the point where you want to scrap what's been done because it's so far from what you initially created.
Option 2: Everyone loves what you do, the material even wins you the account but it never makes the light of day. What's the logic to this? None whatsoever, but I've worked five full pitches that won accounts and where COMPLETELY put to a side. This means that you still have work to do since the campaign launches in a week's time, they want a fully integrated campaign AND they want ideas completely unrelated to what you did to get their attention in the first place.
Only on two occassions have I been able to present creative in a pitch that actually got used as we suggested and guess what? The fucking material worked. In cred ible..... Who would have ever thought that a creative was interested in their client being succesful, that's just hilarious.
I used to have SO much portfolio work that was just locked away somewhere that it was sad because once you tabulate your efforts, you just start getting angry. Very angry. This is mainly because it gets to the point where you just don't see the sense in any of the work you do. that's when sales pitch starts to mean a bunch of other things: ah i'm fucked, say goodbye to the weekend, there goes sleeping 6 hours for a whole week, not again, and woohoo, more work for the same pay. Your enthusiasm is nonexistant and you start looking at people as if you want to kill them, because it's not like you're going to be left alone to work on the pitch. Heaven forbid that you put all your efforts to winning an account. No, this is the perfect time to talk about day to day work at 11 at night while your team brainstorm sessions are going on because the exec is a bit worried we won't make the deadline.
THAT'S the first time I realized that in some agencies, the food chain is quite unlike what I was sold as a motivated youth. I've worked in too many places where creative was hardly the king. More like a lackey, and we got screwed big time. I've worked in agencies where Creative had more pull, and the insanity was just as unnerving and frustrating. I worked at small agencies, where creativity is supposed to fluorish. Ummmm, let's just say no. And then I changed industries, have only done freelance and I stopped minding so much since I was actually having my time paid for AND I had control over what I sent in the first and last place.
Hmmmm.... might I be trying to plant seeds? You decide.