A pitch too far…
OK the words Deadline – Budget – Pitch – Rebrand – FA are all terms that in the ad agency world can mean late nights and serious pressure, by the way for you ‘virgins” out there FA does not mean “Fuck all” it means Finished Artwork – ok. When we were invited to pitch for a rebrand it was ok troops battle down and let’s get another proposal written – we always like a rebrand project as it means we can allow our creativity to really flow with a fairly open brief. Copy was written and rewritten, the studio put together some graphics, our bespoke branded proposal boxes were manufactured along with our usual branded ribbon. In this instance our Art Director and I were flying down to Hong Kong to meet with our client, once again it was the red eye out of Penang, although this time it was a close shave. Our “helpful” travel agent had not put our Art Director’s full name on her ticket, this resulted in the credit card having to be used – again and having a ticket reissued – which is always fun at 6.00 am in the morning – was this an omen for the day I asked myself? The adrenaline was pumping as I have to confess to a “habit” no its not drugs or sex it’s a Double Vanilla Tea Latte – Soya Milk – No Sugar added powder – Small size, I was in a serious state as The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain does not operate in Hong Kong so this was my last fix for 24hrs. I barked the order to the “slow” barista at which time another lovely lady from Cathay Pacific came into the shop to tell me to hurry through to immigration as the ques were long – tough I had to have my fix. So with paper cup in hand I joined the short queue at the diplomatic line, as I have a gold Malaysian card I knew they would allow me, at the same time I am sipping the latte knowing that I really only have another 30 seconds of this pure liquid before the immigration officer makes me dispose of it.
Before long we are descending through the thick smog into Hong Kong airport, as usual I was on my I phone responding to e-mails and wishing that Honkies could walk straight and not body check you. As time was on our side my Art Director convinced me to have a Starbucks – she bats for Starbucks you see – basically I think she was making a subtle point that I always insist on CBTL – so ok I ordered a tea latte – it was crap but better than nothing. A few more phone calls and we were at our hotel, so on went the “agency look” Art Director was in Prada – black of-course and I was having a Viktor & Rolfe – black day – It’s all about consistent visual image. With portfolios and proposal boxes in hand it was a charge down Queens Road to enter the Taxi fight, having scored one it was then an argument with the “mainlander” driver, of course he was trying to drop us near a taxi rank so that he could charm his next unsuspecting fare. After a brief “sit in” I decided it was better to jump ship and find the office for our meeting the hard way – by foot. Having found our meeting place there was just enough time for yep another Starbucks – only wimps eat food, caffeine was all we needed. Now this is when things went a little “pear shaped” I involuntary decided to get intimate with a set of concrete stairs, still not being deterred I got back on my feet, hoping that Art Director hadn’t seen my spectacular slide down the steps, sadly I only managed a second due to the pain that had set in. Sitting on the bottom step I decided I could make it across the road to yet another Starbucks I had spotted, the only issue was that I was now using Art Director as a human crutch and my foot was double in size. One of the crazy things about Hong Kong is you can never get a seat in a Coffee shop, yes not a spare seat was to be found. Therefore the only thing that could be done was to take it “To Go” For those of you that haven’t met Art Director she is smaller than me – so using her as a human crutch while she carried portfolios, boxes and now two cups of coffee kind of didn’t really work.
Outside our clients office, the loafers came off and on went the heels – that’s the bad news, I didn’t even fall when I had on heels – life can be cruel sometimes you know. At this point I really did need some divine intervention – it was business as usual – forget the pain in the foot and get on with the pitch. Following an intense meeting we then left with more work to do, after signing NDA’s it was time to put together a nine centre road show. There’s just one little hick up I was now unable to bare any weight on my foot – sadly this time I was escorted out of the building by three ambulance men and taken off to the Queen Mary Hospital. For the fashionetas of you, the ambulance men wheeled me past Harvey Nichols, when I went to look at some jewellery I realized these very experienced guys had me in a straight jacket – my hands weren’t going anywhere not even for a spot of retail therapy which of course I deserved given the day. Sooo off we trotted to the Queen Mary Hospital – my first reaction was to ask Art Director to go buy some face masks – the A&E department looked like a war zone. With masks in place the both of us kept making client phone calls and at around 10.00pm I received confirmation of what I already knew – I had indeed fractured my foot. Art Director was now looking like she needed to be admitted so after some heavy persuasion she jumped a taxi and went back to the hotel – a great night out for her in Hong Kong. A few more hours passed of sitting in a wheel chair and working on the logistics of breathing in a face mask without my glasses misting up, then off I went to be admitted into the ward, off came the Victor & Rolf and on went the tartan Queen Mary pyjamas. With only 10% battery life left in my I phone, it was a quick call to headquarters in Penang – a good lesson learnt is to always carry an extra phone battery or charger in your hand luggage when travelling. The following morning with my foot packed into a splint I checked myself out and determinedly packed my suitcase and commenced the journey back to Penang.
Six weeks later still being confined to my bed and going crazy with my pretty blue cast the pitch or should I say the “bitch of a pitch” continued. With a constantly evolving brief, the Moonlight Events team continued answering client questions and delivering fresh ideas and venues in crazy tight time frames. At Christmas we still had FA and Chinese New Year looms, the brief has changed yet again and the team still manage to deliver on time. That’s because our team is FTW – 100% awesome and 88% pure muscle. If you don’t know what FTW stands for its cool lingo “For The Win”a rather appropriate term given this article.
By the way I had great Pink Tiger Media branded crutches and wheel chair!!