And now the final blog post on the ground-breaking events at the Good Pitch Week by Stefan Bradley, Research, Insight and Operations Director at The Art of New Business.


Good Pitch Week came to an end with the inside story of Novartis’s 2011 global media pitch. Giving their unique perspectives on this complex and challenging review were Sharon Spina, VP Global Purchasing at Novartis Consumer Health; Tom Denford, founding partner of ID Comms and Matt Blackborn, president of emerging markets at winning agency Starcom MediaVest Group.

Novartis is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, with 5 divisions operating in 100+ markets, more than 50 brands on their books and $60bn annual sales. There had been no media review since 2004 and across the different divisions and markets there were ongoing contracts in place with 47 different media agencies.

By 2011, with TV effectiveness deteriorating and the need to partner with a digital specialist media agency, Novartis decided to call the global review. The aim? To replace the multiple agencies on their roster with just one media agency across all divisions and markets and move from TV buying to integrated comms planning and media excellence.

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Stefan Bradley, Research, Insight and Operations Director at The Art of New Business talks about the first in the series of events happening during The Good Pitch Week.


Good Pitch Week kicked off yesterday with a bang as Andrea Newman, Global Head of Advertising and Marketing Communications at HSBC took to the stage and talked us through her learnings from the bank’s recent global advertising review. Joining her to lead the session and share the agency viewpoint were Magnus Djaba, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi and Joe Petyan, Executive Partner of JWT.

The review was driven by HSBC having all their eggs in one very large basket, with JWT. Despite the fact that the review was an exercise in minimising risk and run as a ‘side project’, it is heralded as great example of a ‘best practice’ pitch. After hearing these guys recall their experiences, it’s easy to see why.


Knowledge is Power

To get the best from the review, Andrea felt it was crucial the agencies understand exactly what HSBC stands for as a business so she and two of the global marketing team created a comprehensive briefing document that included details on the company, its values, principles and history. The actual strategic and operational challenges didn’t feature until the 20th page.


Working in Partnership

When it comes to pitching, an agency’s biggest bugbear can be the amount of time and money put into creative work that never sees the light of day. HSBC recognised that truly great creative work can only come from agency and client working together and duly ran the review as ‘no creative’.

Respect, compassion and understanding (features often missing from the pitch process) were key elements of the review. Each agency had regular face time, monthly Q&A sessions, an enforced shutdown over Christmas and plentiful development time. Andrea deliberately subverted the usual master/servant relationship to create a feeling of partnership between agency and client, and such was the focus on working as partners (in a pretty much unheard of move) HSBC invited the shortlisted agencies to choose their own media partners rather than enforcing their own preferences.

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