020 3146 5586

How to master the 10 minute pitch

by | Mar 31, 2018

Last year we had a truly international cohort for the third year of the Masters of Creativity programme at the Cannes Lions School. Our delegates came from 12 different countries, representing both in-house brands including Microsoft and Red Bull, and a wide variety of business roles in agencies including digital strategists, art directors, business development and creative directors.

Following five days of being briefed, mentally-prodded, inspired, mentored and generally filled with advice and wise words from the great and the good of the communications industry, our Masters of Creativity-in-the-making presented their final solutions for the Oreo brand to the Dean of the programme Keith Reinhard, the Mondelez client, the Martin Agency, Alan Shulman, Deloitte and Sarah Watson, Chief Strategy Officer at BBH. In just 10 minutes – a daunting task! A challenge they certainly rose to, producing four excellent presentations that made judging far from easy.

In a nutshell the brief was to make Oreo cookies relevant to an adult European audience who had not grown up with the product or the culture of twist, lick, dunk.

In the week leading up to pitch day, a vast amount of information was absorbed and an impressive amount of work was done by the multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural teams, who had only just met at the client briefing. Two, hour-long master classes provide much food for thought each day, that was clearly applied to the final presentations in varying degrees, from insights to process and even team names! So without further ado, in order of pitches, here is a roundup:

The ShatterersFills Like Home

This slick, well-rehearsed presentation was timed to perfection and exemplified solid teamwork. They had clearly spent time getting to know each other, the brief and their presentation. However this was not always a smooth journey as there were differences of opinion, as well as language and cultural barriers that they overcame through lively discussion. By the time they were presenting their thinking it came across that they were all onboard. The Shatterers made good use of the mentors on hand, using them as sounding boards and fresh pairs of eyes. All this helped them have a clear, focused argument and to deliver it with chemistry and insight – which they had gathered through consumer research (on the Croisette). They were the only team to have actively sought their target audience for face-to-face interviews. Well, when in Cannes…

Their idea – ‘Fills Like Home’ was clear, interesting and memorable but the jury felt perhaps would have benefited from more worked-up, tangible delivery mechanics and thought-through cost implications. The Shatterers were the only group that attempted to ‘tighten-up’ the broad target audience, arriving on the interesting territory of the Erasmus exchange student programmes. However this is a relatively small group of 1 million students and their families, which did not feel big enough or scalable to the judges.

The idea was reliant on the individual ‘Fills Like Home’ packages to be ‘Wonderfilled’ by the families, who may not understand the cheeky, playful, fun nature of Oreos and the judges queried whether the Oreo message might be lost in wide range of contents in the box.

Cookie MonstersIf you do this, we’ll give you a Cookie

The winning team! The Cookie Monsters told a simple story that captured the playful, cheeky essence of the brand beautifully, but with a European sense of humor. Their insight was based on the universal truth that we all bribe our children with treats and that desire for simple sweet rewards does not diminish with age. Expressed with a cheeky, irreverent sense of humor, the judges felt that this territory was ownable for Oreos. With this universal truth, Cookie Monsters could keep the audience broad but the executions tactical, topical, scalable and playful. They hit the jackpot with a big idea that has scale but does not play to the lowest common denominator. The idea was bigger than its European brief.

The team appeared well-rehearsed, comfortable and unified behind the idea. They managed to bring the ideas to life with the same tone that the idea promised. The story was clear and not only reflected back the brief but also learnings from the week’s master classes.

However, their journey was not an easy one. There were strong personalities with equally strong ideas that needed to find their own unique place within the group. However they always met as a team and worked tirelessly together. They also had a number of differing routes that they were exploring and finding it hard to agree on. But they stuck with it, called in the mentors and spent time discussing the pros and cons to get to their final winning idea.

Triple-Double-OreosTogether We are Delicious

This team had the creative idea: ‘Together we are delicious’ – using the insight into the target audience that ‘millennials believe they can make change and make a difference and that in their world, collaboration is the new currency and their best brand is their own.’ The idea of Oreos being able to bring people together is timely, and had great potential and would have benefited from being brought to life more in the pitch. This group had clearly been influenced by what they had seen and heard from the masters and played back ideas and techniques picked up from the master classes. This group took advantage of being on the ground in Cannes to present some hot off the presses data and insights they’d gleaned that week from around the festival.

Foxcatchers Take you back (Unlock your Childhood), St.Oreos and Guilty Pleasure for Adults

Foxcatchers had a number of ideas that showed potential, but within the 10 minute timeframe it was difficult to do each of them justice. So they were not able to tell us the story of their journey and what insights had led to each creative concept. There was no single-minded truth and they would have benefited from picking a route and fully exploring, adapting and telling its story.

Every single team did a fantastic job with the brief, the limited timeframe and the fact that they were working in teams with people they didn’t know at the start of the week. In terms of the delegate’s experience all said they were extremely likely to recommend the course to others and most said that attending had a ‘significant impact’ on their ability to do their day-to-day job.

The winning team – the Cookie Monsters – had the unforgettable experience of getting up on stage on the Saturday night to collect their award from Keith Reinhard.

If you’re interested in pitch training contact us to find out about our How To Be A Pitch Ninja and storytelling courses.




Ready to slay those presenting gremlins and get all your content ducks in a row? Find out more about our presenting masterclasses with industry pros here.