The Pitch Key Art Gallery 1 - The Pitch Behind The PitchThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 1 - The Pitch Behind The Pitch

AMC's new series The Pitch takes viewers behind the scenes of America's most creative ad agencies as they develop strategic campaigns for career-changing clients. But how do you craft an ad campaign for a show about crafting ad campaigns? According to AMC's EVP of Marketing Linda Schupack, you need to come up with artwork that conveys "a sense of real-life competition, high-stakes and personal drama." Getting there isn't easy! What follows are some of the campaigns pitched by Empire Design which led to AMC's truly distinctive key art for The Pitch.
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

The Pitch Key Art Gallery 2 - Face OffThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 2 - Face Off

Test audiences for The Pitch really responded to the show's competitive aspects and its personal drama, so Empire decided to use these elements as a starting point. "We loved this idea of two competing agencies, fighting both internally and against each other,” said Copywriter Tom Lewis. These initial designs had one drawback though. As AMC's Schupack pointed out, “It's a show that doesn’t have recurring stars. If we were going to use people, we’d have to do stock photography. That just seemed to strip it of its power.” So how do you relate the battle without showing the contenders?
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

The Pitch Key Art Gallery 3 - Choose Your WeaponThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 3 - Choose Your Weapon

One way to show the adversarial nature of the creative process was turning everyday office objects into weapons. "These were items that everyone could relate to, but making them implements of war raises the stakes," said Empire's Designer/Art Director Jeremy Ager. Schupack was intrigued by the concept, but had her reservations, too. "As much as we liked it, this campaign had to live digitally, too." AMC had concerns about how these images would translate on-air. So Empire went back to the think tank.
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

The Pitch Key Art Gallery 4 - Brains Will Be StormedThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 4 - Brains Will Be Stormed

Focusing on a particularly catchy tagline, Empire came up with a series of playful ads built around the phrase "Brains Will Be Stormed." Ager thought the lightning-bolt graphics could also work when animated for prime time commercials. Schupack liked "the cleverness of the line." Was it clever enough? Would it entice the target audience, which was, admittedly, a sophisticated one? Or did they, as Schupack put it, resemble "the cover for a book on math problems”?
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

The Pitch Key Art Gallery 5 - Back to the Drawing BoardThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 5 - Back to the Drawing Board

That concern prompted Empire to return to the creative aspect behind every pitch. The agency reflected on their own process on behalf of the series -- "the 'Aha!' moments" and came up with a series of executions that Lewis said “shed light, but also poke fun at, what we really do.” AMC thought these were “intriguing and very clever” yet put too much onus on the audience. Added Schupack, “I just don’t think people want to work that hard with advertising.” So how could they simplify it?
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

The Pitch Key Art Gallery 6 - One Moment of InspirationThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 6 - One Moment of Inspiration

"We liked this one," said Schupack of the iteration top left which focuses on the inherent pressure of the process. "This was the one that got bounced around the most," said Ager, "Everyone around the table could get it. They all started chipping in ideas of what else there could be." In the end, Schupack said what really stuck out was "The idea of a climax, this 'one moment of inspiration.' Because that’s what it ultimately comes down to." What it needed now was a little more polish, a little more finesse.
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

The Pitch Key Art Gallery 7 - The WinnerThe Pitch Key Art Gallery 7 - The Winner

So how did Empire take it to the next level? "The idea behind this was a battle cry," said Lewis, "Like you might see in a classic movie, where a leader steps up and delivers this rousing call to his troops." AMC encouraged a typographical approach. "It just has an emotional power. It’s sophisticated, it grabs you," Schupack concluded, "And this captures the experience of the show: The building intensity that then comes down to one climactic moment, so perfectly expressed by The Pressure. The Passion. The Pitch.”

Click here to learn more about The Pitch.
Photo by Images Courtesy of Empire Design

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