when the brief is more away-with-the-fairies than ‘challenging’

We’ve all been there at one time or another.  The client pitch brief that asserts their ambition for the brand to be seen as the country’s leading X or most aspirational Y.  When you know full well that the brand has more baggage than Terminal 5 on a BA strike day, is right up there with Peter Mandelson in the public’s affections and that the actual product doesn’t perform well against the competition.  Oh, and they have a budget approximately a quarter of the size required to affect meaningful results.

So what do you do?  Pitch promising to give them exactly what they want but knowing you can’t deliver?  Pitch giving them a reality check but knowing you’ll lose?  Or decline to pitch on the basis that the client has clearly lost all touch with reality?

I wish I could say that the latter is always the case.  But we know it isn’t.  Perhaps it’s the role of pitch intermediaries like the AAR and Haystack to challenge pitch briefs and give a severe reality check.

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