InScope: Beginners guide to Pitch Off

Kirra Kissane, participated as part of our annual internship program in OMD Sydney as part of Team Carnegie, working across clients such as Beiersdorf, Frucor and Hasbro.

“Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact”- drawing from the important messaging within Jim Carry’s movie, ‘Yes Man’, I decided to unleash the power of YES throughout my four-week internship at OMD, beginning with an experience I will never forget – Pitch Off.

Being in my final year of study, my internship at OMD was the first real introduction to the world of media. I had spent the first three days settling into my new role as a part of Team Carnegie, working on clients such as Beiersdorf, Frucor and Hasbro, and was ready to sink my teeth into everything the four weeks was going to offer and venture further from my comfort zone. My team and manager encouraged me to take part in the annual Pitch Off competition. But what is Pitch Off I hear you ask?  Pitch Off is an Omnicom Media Group inspiration initiative which was created to challenge staff with less than four years’ experience, giving them the opportunity to respond to a real client brief. The teams are given 24-hours to develop a response, which is then presented back to a panel of judges consisting of the client and members of the Omnicom Media Group senior leadership team. I saw Pitch Off 2019 as a huge opportunity for me to get involved and add to my skill set, so naturally I jumped at the challenge wholeheartedly. Heading into work that day, I was filled with a mix of emotions. On one hand, I am a particularly competitive person, so the thought of a challenge and a chance to take a crack at responding to a live brief was incredibly exciting. On the other hand, I had been at OMD for less than one week and there was no denying the nerves (and more considerably, uncertainty) of what the next 24 hours had in store. Once the stress subsided, it gave way to curiosity and excitement as we all gathered in suspense in the PHD’s office, waiting to find out what this year’s brief was going to be.

This year’s client was Lynx. We were informed that the client was on a journey to start conversing with Generation Z, taking to heart one of their biggest passion points – gaming. The brief was to make their collaboration with Xbox the most exciting and talkable Lynx innovation EVER. We were to do this through both a combination of mass awareness and detailed personalised targeting.

After hearing the brief, I was feeling determined…also a little nervous. “A fresh perspective?”, I thought “that’s what I can bring to the table” – in other words, not a lot! Nonetheless, this perspective was quickly turned around, as I was met with smiles and lots of support from my team. As we took turns sharing our roles and individual strengths, it was clear there were a lot of skills from many disciplines, varying all the way from pitch theatre to analytics. It was time for us to work together as a team, to leverage each other’s strengths and pull together an entire pitch. Whilst this was much easier said than done, we all worked exceptionally well together despite our differing roles, levels of experience and personalities. Over the next 24 hours, we would enjoy dumplings in moments of defeat, celebrate our big breakthroughs, hallelujah moments with enthusiasm and encouragement! Our Pitch Off experience wasn’t without obstacles but, eventually, we pulled together a pitch, that we had all contributed to and felt truly proud to present the next day.

Although incredibly nervous beforehand, my team and I enjoyed the experience of presenting in front of an impressive panel of judges. It was incredibly rewarding to see our ideas being met with such a positive response, especially from the client! The energy and passion within the room was contagious and although we didn’t win, I felt lucky to have been a part of the experience. In my first week of my internship at OMD, I was able to see firsthand the effort that agencies put into impressing new and existing clients (it is not an easy process!).

Reflecting upon my recent internship with OMD Australia, I can confirm that saying YES throughout the entire experience, particularly Pitch Off 2019, gave me the most incredible introduction into the media industry. The people I was fortunate enough to meet met, as well as the skills I developed over my time with OMD, will undoubtedly stick with me throughout my entire career.

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