Pitch Slaps & Grand Prix – By @robyn_frost

Robyn Frost

By Robyn Frost


Pitch Slaps & Grand Prix


I spent the past five days on placement at Ogilvy & Mather – #blessed – as part of an experience scheme. I kept a tell-all diary to give you a 100% legit insight into my first gig in Adland. Spoiler: no sex or booze. Just lots of concrete and views of Blackfriars Bridge, because new office. Sorry if I’m destroying your Mad Men-style vision.


Here’s how it went down, unabridged*.



Day 1


–  Christ, my first ad agency and it’s O&M. Pretty sure they only chose me ‘cos I stole from W+K for my entry. Stealing does get you places. Cheers Arden.

–  Guess I’m a go big or go home kinda gal, so actually not surprised I’m here?!

–  Morning watching ads and learning about diff departments within Ogilvy group.

–  Have to “illustrate [our] lives”. Going in with Resting Bitch Face, because it’s definitely out in full  force today.

  • I don’t wanna hear about your first cat’s name or that graze you got falling off your bike aged 7, sorry.

–   Working on a brief for Pizza Hut. Two groups, 3 days to create campaign, pitch first thing Friday.

  • Most importantly, “make it really fucking offensive”. Right up my street, my love, don’t you worry.
  • Advice on how not to pitch, via a Rebel Wilson meme, “you guys are gonna get pitch-slapped so hard your man boobs are gonna concave”. Noted. Don’t fuck up.



Day 2


–   Talk from “strategists who find insights” (planners) who are both really sarcastic. REPRESENT. 

  • Threw a few ideas at my group which were subsequently shot down for being “too crazy” and “unrealistic”. Was told yesterday not to worry about whether the client would buy them as they’d be reined in after. Whatever.
  • Met Ran and Max! Super lovely and gave me tips on surviving the SCA cult. Refreshing hearing good and bad bits about agency life, as others have all said “our department is the best!”
  • Apparently 4pm is a normal time to head home. Disappointing.



Day 3


  • Scamp, scamp, scamp.
  • No set desks at Ogilvy, which I love (similar to studio culture I’m used to) so we’re diving straight in to O&M’s space. Parked myself next to a shelf load of Grand Prix in the hope of feeling extra inspired.
  • Just been told we’ll be pitching to the client, not the other group.
  • Got that creative process struggle. Everyone’s Googling stats in the hope of stumbling upon the next big thing. Let’s all ditch the laptops in favour of pens and brains.
  • We’re smashing it.
  • I’m all for the “kill your babies” thing, (ditch the ideas you love and start again), but totally believe in ______. Been told “be creatively brave” way too often not to pitch this.
  • Tangential but emailed Cindy G about my career and she sent an awesome reply and made my day. Saint.




Day 4


  • Worked our arses off next to another shelf of shiny things #goals.
  • Manager says we have to tame our ideas as the client would never buy them.
  • Doing them anyway. YOLO.
  • Playing ‘Spot the ECD’ is so much fun.



Day 5


  • Pitching to James Whatley today, Digital Director of O&M. He’s got 14.4k Twitter followers @whatleydude. Just in case the situation wasn’t already intimidating enough.
  • 30 mins ’til pitch. 13th floor. Nervy AF. “I’m not surprised they make these windows unable to open”. (This became my first ever #thingsyouhearinagencies #finally).
  • When you’re told “there’s so much to love about this idea”, “can I get this deck asap”, “going to show it to the client in an hour”, you know you’re winning at life.
  • “The ________ angle – fucking hilarious”. Ye man. That was the one the group shot down and I’m so proud of myself for pushing it.



I really don’t want to leave, but I’m so grateful to have had such an incredible first agency

experience. Cheers Ogilvy for letting us go wild on a big client. Maybe in a year we’ll be watching __________ get a ________, with ______ and _________ while _____________. Epic, right?



*Removed ideas. Thanks NDA.

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