I screwed up big time. The Chief Creative guy yelled at me. I might’ve lost the agency the pitch.
I still cringe at this story, but as any young’un starting out in advertising knows, mistakes happen. We were pitching to an environmentally conscious not for profit – one of the big ones. As one of the assistants at the agency, my job was to prepare the room for the pitch. You know, order food, prep the coffee, stuff like that.
All was status quo, except for the fact that the big whigs at the agency wanted to look like we had ‘zero footprint’ and therefore forgo any packaging or waste in the pitch room.
I put cold water an urn I found in the dated agency kitchen – an urn that looked like a hot water urn. I put the hot water in another urn. We set out reusable mugs. Tongs for distributing the danishes. Real china plates (albeit, mismatched).
The pitch got underway and I returned to my desk on the other side of the agency like a good little Cinderella. 10 minutes into it, the Chief Creative Officer was seen marching, carrying one of our urns, through the hallways and towards my desk.
“Who filled this!” he demanded.
I spat out a bunch of mumbo jumbo and led him back to the kitchen to remedy the mistake. Apparently the hot water urn wasn’t out there at all, and Mr Client at the enviro corp filled his earl grey cup with cold tap water.
It was then I realized I’d forgotten to put any sugar out in the pitch room. I began ripping sugar packets up and putting them into a small crystal bowl.
If only I’d had a crystal ball an hour earlier.
“Why are you doing that to the sugar? Do you mean to tell me there’s no sugar out there either?”
I grimaced. He marched back in with the hot water and sugar bowl. I slunk away to my desk, sure to never live it down or amount to anything in the advertising world ever again.
Luckily, a few months and a few more highlights later, the CCO forgot who I was and began saying hello in the elevator again. He was forced into an early retirement role years later.
We didn’t win the environment client.