Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | 2 a.m.
AMC TV series focuses on advertising agencies
Sun coverage of reality TV in Vegas
Faced with the challenge of creating a national advertising campaign for the nation's largest trash hauler in just a week, the creative minds at local advertising agency SK+G went into overdrive.
Given seven days to craft a pitch that would normally take months, employees at the agency spent long hours shuttling between the drawing board and creative meetings as they hammered out a campaign that included print, television and online advertising as well as a mobile application — all while television cameras filmed their every move.
SK+G is one of several advertising agencies from around the country competing in AMC’s new television series “The Pitch.” Born from the same network as “Mad Men,” a 1960s-period drama based on the New York City advertising industry, “The Pitch” provides a look into modern advertising agencies while adding a touch of reality television flair by pitting agencies in a head-to-head battle for national advertising contracts.
SK+G’s challenge was to create a campaign that presents Waste Management as more than just a trash hauler by highlighting the company’s range of other environmental services. After a week crafting their pitch in November, SK+G executives flew to Houston to present their vision to Waste Management, which heard a competing pitch from a New York-based agency.
Although Waste Management has chosen a winner, the viewing public will have to wait until “The Pitch” premieres on Monday to learn whether SK+G came away with the contract.
Win or lose, SK+G managing partner Jerry Kramer said participating on “The Pitch” has been a positive experience for the agency.
With only a week to develop the pitch, SK+G’s office started to resemble a college dorm before finals, Kramer said, as employees put in long hours and collaborated in new ways to get everything done on time. The television show also gave the agency a national platform to show off the quality and creativity of its work, he said.
“I don’t think we had anything to lose. … I had great faith we would come up with smart work,” Kramer said. “Everybody who wanted to contribute got a chance to participate. We got incredible ideas from people we never asked for ideas before. That’s changing now. A good idea can come from anywhere.”
Formed in 1999 by Kramer and John Schadler, SK+G currently employs more than 120 people and represents several heavyweights in the hospitality and gaming industries, including MGM Resorts International, Trump International Hotel and Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. The company continues to expand into other categories, including representing nonprofit groups such as the Andre Agassi Foundation and the Nevada Cancer Institute as well as adding international clients in countries including the Bahamas and China.
“We bring a kind of unexpected but strategic approach,” said Schadler, a managing partner. “We believe in research — when we have that luxury — so everything is grounded in a smart, strategic insight but often one that might be a little bit unique and different.”
Schadler and Kramer said they hoped SK+G’s appearance on “The Pitch” also would bolster the reputation of the Las Vegas advertising industry, which they think is underappreciated compared with traditional advertising strongholds like New York City or Los Angeles.
“We would like people to realize what a great center this is for an ad agency. We’d actually like to have more competition here. We think that Las Vegas is a great place to have a serious ad agency,” Kramer said. “There’s every culture represented here. ... This is like a consumer laboratory.”
SK+G will be featured on the official two-hour premiere of “The Pitch,” which airs at 9 p.m. Monday on AMC.