The Pitch — A Lock Down Script

Log Line

A London ad agency, ‘the Crouching Tigers’, is in Covid-induced lock down. In dire straights, they have one last throw of the dice to save themselves. Led by a narcissistic CEO, the isolated and inept pitch team has to collaborate over Zoom to prepare and present its ideas to a ball busting client, the founder of Lady Lucks Casino.

Scene 1 — The night before — The Covid-19 isolated pitch team from ‘The Crouching Tigers’ Ad agency dial into a last-minute pre-pitch Zoom call

Scene 2 — The tissue meeting — The Crouching Tigers video conference with the leadership team of LadyLucks.com, an online casino designed for women

Scene 3 — The autopsy — The agency team reviews their performance and the client’s response and prepares to write their destiny, in ad form

Scene 4 — The pitch — The last chance saloon for the Crouching Tigers as they try to land Lady Lucks against all the odds

Characters

Tony Seegram — Co-Founder & CEO of ‘The Crouching Tigers’ ad agency. Recovering alcoholic, neurotic narcissist and stuck firmly in ‘the old days’ whilst negotiating the death-throws of marriage number three.

CeCe Almscott — Creative Director of ‘The Crouching Tigers’. Former wunderkind struggling to pay back the debt owed by her early promise. A new, high maintenance baby is her creative partner.

Chas [Art Director] & Dave [Copywriter]– High cost but low work ethic creative duo without a hit campaign to their name for quite some time.

Juliet Smyth — Anxious Group Account Director recently ‘clientless’ having lost the Bonio dog food account due to an unfortunate (and ultimately fatal) on-pack promotion.

Julian Olivette — Apathetic French finance director who wishes he’d stayed at PWC in Geneva.

Jo Flynn — Founder, CEO and part owner of LadyLucks.com online casino. Sociopathic former ‘Businesswoman of the Year’(1999). Suffers fools badly and deals with them quickly.

James Hambledon — Morally bankrupt and kowtowing Marketing Director of Lady Lucks, rebuilding his bankroll whilst planning a better career.

Scene 1 — The Night Before

TONY

Sooooo… what exactly are you telling me, darling? That you have a world beating campaign in hand for this low rent casino pitch or you’ve got fuck all? Because [ahem] what I want to hear is the former but what I’m actually — ACTUALLY hearing, is the stone-cold latter. You’ve got fuck all and we’re — what are we Julian — we’re…?

JULIAN

…We’re trading seven hundred and forty-two thousand Sterling behind budget.

TONY

Yes, three quarters of a mil behind budget which means… Which means, ?

JULIAN

If we don’t win Lady Lucks Casino, we will have to make twenty percent of the staff redundant. Plus, zer will be no bonus, no pay rises and no agency sojourn to Cannes. Which means zees Tiger ees no longer crouching. Zees tiger is on ees, how you say, ass.

TONY

On his fucking ass, CeCe. My Tiger is on his fucking fire breathing backside. So tell me sweetheart — stop doodling and look at me while I interrogate you — TELL ME — what work of astoundingly effective beauty are we showing that ice queen and her toffy nosed lapdog in the pitch tomorrow?

CECE []

Calm down Tony. I’ve got our… our most people working on it. It’s gonna be huge. A lock in. Guaranteed.

TONY

Guaranteed? I like the sound of that, Oh creative archangel of mine. But then again, I liked the sound of it when Bodyform was a jam rag in the bag. And again, still when you assured me we’d be flossing our arses with Bounty bog roll for years to come. And let’s not forget, when you claimed Audi was a done deal I spunked a hundred and twenty grand on an R8 convertible that I’m still paying for. But they’re not paying us, are they CeCe? Audi’s not getting in hock at fifteen percent per annum paying my agency, oh no. They’re still getting their Vorsprung dicks licked by BBH!

JULIAN []

That’s BMW

TONY

What?

JULIAN

Vorsprung Durch Technik — it’s BMW’s strapline, no?

TONY & CECE

NO!

TONY

Stick to the FUCKING numbers, . Anyway, as I was saying, I’m taking no risks with this one, so I ask again — who have you got working on it and when can I see the fucking creative concept?

CECE []

I’ve got Chas and Dave waiting online for this tissue session with a MacBook of gold dust and some back up scamps if you deign their lead stuff unworthy.

TONY

Little and Large? Jesus, we’re fucked. They haven’t produced an original thought between them since that wanking cow for Yoplait, and the ASA put that one to sleep faster than a Goth at a Katie Melua concert. OK, so who else?

CECE

That’s it. You furloughed half of the creative department and my ‘A’ team, Mel and Jacinta, are trying to salvage the Lidl account after you told their CMO to go fu…

TONY

Yeah, old news darling. OK let’s get ’em in sharpish. We need this turd polished by six PM. I’ve got virtual Pilates booked, whatever the fuck that entails.

[]

TONY

Fellas! My two favourite creative legends. How are we? Good, good stuff. So… Lady Lucks — let’s see what morsels of delight you’ve prepared for us to serve up to Her Ladyshit at the interim meeting tomorrow. You with the beard, umm, Chas — let’s get the ball rolling.

DAVE

I’m Dave…

TONY

Whatever. Who’s got the goods?

CHAS

OK, so there’s two things to remember here, Tony. One, online casinos are a bitch to sell. If we wanted to flog Marlboros to kids, we have more leeway, so we haven’t got the creative freedom we’d normally like.

TONY

Stop making excuses and get on with it

DAVE []

The second is the client. We all know her from her days at Diageo. She’s a Scottish ball breaker who likes to squeeze every pound, penny and drop of blood from her agencies. Plus, she’s got a gob on her that would make a battalion of Marines shit themselves. And remember, she tried to fire us back in the day on the pretence of overbilling, which was bullshit…

JULIAN

No, it wasn’t…

DAVE

…and would’ve got away with it if her Marketing Manager hadn’t embroiled her in that assault case.

CECE

But he sent her dick pics and groped her in the lift after the Christmas party, didn’t he?

TONY

Yes, and she broke his jaw and ruptured his testes. Anyway, it’s still assault darling, whichever side you’re on. Collateral damage. The CEO was a lazy bastard of the old school variety and didn’t need the hassle. Good guy, actually — was on the Saatchis grad scheme with yours truly in the golden age. Pussy hound extraordinaire, if memory serves. Would fuck a kettle if it had a pulse.

CECE

Err, ‘#MeToo’, Tony?

TONY

Good for you, darling.

DAVE

Back to the bird in hand, she’s a sharp cookie, doesn’t suffer fools — nor sycophants, Tony — and is a card-carrying, bra-burning feminist with a thermonuclear temper who makes Germaine Greer look like Frankie Boyle. Which leads us neatly into our lead concept.

CHAS ()

“Hello, girls”

CECE

Yeah, I like it! Powerful, no doubt!

TONY

What?

JULIAN

Ooh la…

DAVE

We’ve zagged while every other online casino zigs. It’s brave, it’s forthright, it’s on-trend — it’s the ‘now’ casino that women will embrace as their…

TONY

It’s fucking Wonderbra. You’ve just ripped off one of the most famous campaigns of all time and just changed ‘Hello Boys’ to ‘Hello Girls’. God, this is weak even for you two halfwits. Next.

DAVE

OK, we’ll agree to disagree. So we’ve played it safe with our second concept. It’s not going to win any silverware, but it’ll tick all the ice queen’s boxes. It’s called ‘Luck be your lady tonight’. Product shots of roulette tables, blackjack cards, spinning slots, loads of Oscar quality motion graphics. Call to action is ‘Lady Lucks — Will luck be in for ladies tonight?’ emphasis on ‘you’. Juliet has spoken to Frank Sinatra’s estate and we should be able to haggle the song down to a hundred and fifty K for 6 months TV usage, UK only.

CECE

Hmmmm.

TONY

So, let me get this straight Chas…

DAVE

I’m Dave

TONY

Whatever — look, I know Juliet is the Group Account Director on this. As the suit she’s in charge of the behind the scenes shit, budgets, talent liaison etcetera. You guys just come up with ideas, draw the pictures and sprinkle fairy dust on them so it’s not your fault. But I have a question — the creative budget we were given for this pitch was what, exactly?

CHAS

You’ll notice we’ve neatly integrated a ‘Clap For Our Carers’ Hashtag in the footer — and a percentage of earnings would go to NHS causes because, y’know — purpose.

TONY

Stop deflecting. What was the budget?

DAVE

Ummmm…

TONY

Quarter of a Mil. That’s only two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Out of that, we need to create an ad, pay a production company, director, hire a set, cough up for the motion graphics, pay your exorbitant salaries and still somehow turn a measly profit. So how the fuck are you planning to do that when two thirds of the cash disappears into the already bulging pockets of a dead crooner’s descendants? CeCe, this isn’t your first rodeo — couldn’t you have honed these ideas before Tango and Cash wasted my time?

CECE

It’s been challenging Tony — very difficult. Half the remaining creatives refuse to work on gambling accounts the other half found it impossible to come up with anything that’s not utterly shit without riding roughshod over the incredibly prohibitive marketing legislation. Plus, what with Coronavirus isolation it’s just… just been really stressful, OK?

TONY

Hmmm. Thanks for nothing you two — you’re dismissed.

CHAS AND DAVE

OK. Cheers — Peace out boss. See you in the trenches.

[]

TONY

Right, so CeCe — — you’ve got ’til two PM tomorrow to pull a fucking astounding looking rabbit out of this moth-eaten hat.

DAVE

We’re still here, by the way…

TONY

I shouldn’t have to remind you what’s at stake if we let this bitch slip now, should I?

CHAS

Where’s the ‘leave’ button?

TONY

Jesus wept, what a shit show… right — I’ve got Pilates — get to work you lot, and I mean now…

[CALL ENDS]

Scene 2 — The Tissue Meeting

TONY

Hello? Is this thing on? HELLO? Testing, testing. For fuck’s sake — what’s wrong with this…

JULIET

…I can hear you Tony. You need to turn the video on.

DAVE

Click the camera button, Tony. Next to the microphone icon.

TONY

Juliet? I’ve been trying to switch it on. What do I press?

JULIET

Click the camera picture, bottom left.

TONY

Obviously, I’ve done tha… oh, OK — that’s the one

CECE

Tony — TONY — you need to work on your background…

TONY

My background. What d’you mean my background? This a class thing? Because I’ll have you know… WHAT THE FUCK? What’s that doing there? Miles? MILES! Get in here you absolute excuse for a child. Sorry guys — my son’s been schooled remotely on my laptop.

MILES!!

TONY

Fix this. Fix this now. Or there’ll be no more allowance for literally ever.

TONY

Right, let’s hope that’s the only fuck up today. Where’s everyone else?

CHAS & DAVE

Morning Tony! We’re ready to rock chief.

TONY

You’d better be. Thanks for dressing up, by the way. And why are you two on a roof terrace, anyway? Don’t you have families to self-exclude with?

CECE

They’re isolating together, Tony. In an AirBnB in Shoreditch. It made more sense for business continuity. And the creative process.

TONY

Really? Well as far as I’m concerned, fuck creatives and fuck the creative process. I s’pose I’m paying for that bit of real estate, am I? And is that… is that a fucking hot tub? How much is that little love nest costing me, anyway?

DAVE []

Less than your Audi…

TONY

I heard that, you bearded oik. Never mind — I’ll deal with you later. Soooo… as Jo and James should be joining in a few minutes, why don’t you two astound me with your creative genius? And I shouldn’t have to warn you of what’s at stake here, should…

JO FLYNN

…Hello? Hey guys. Jo here — how you doing? James — you there?

JAMES HAMBLEDON

Hey guys — good to see you. Hope everyone’s avoided the bug. Interesting times, eh? Looking forward to getting back to the old normal, I bet? Ha!

JO

OK, I’ve got another Zoom at three, so enough with the pleasantries. Can everyone hear me? Good. Tony — I’m prepared to be wowed. Wow me.

TONY

Great — thanks Jo and good to see you again, James. I heard you guys secured your seed money from Verecker VC — terrific news! I play golf with Toby Verecker and can safely say you’re partnered with a winning team! As you know, Crouching Tigers has been a leading integrated agency for over a decade and it’s our honour, nay — our privilege — to be presenting the very best of our initial thoughts — a culmination of our not inconsiderable brain power — to you today.

Lady Lucks is a phoenix rising from the flames that burn from less heroic online casinos. A beacon of light from the dark. A rainbow on a cloudy da…

JO

I’ll stop you there, Tony. I warned you I was short of time. If I wanted my pussy tickled, I’d’ve worn my feather G-string. I don’t, so I didn’t — so can we skip the foreplay and jump straight to the penetration?

TONY

Erm, yes sure Jo, no problem. Let me hand over to Juliet Smyth, the — err, the Group Account Director to talk about our strategy? It’s a humdinger of insight interwoven with threads of golden purpose and strands of bravery.

JO

Yeah, sure. But Juliet? You may have picked up the vibe better than Tony but if not, remember, the pitch proper isn’t ’til tomorrow, so keep it short and simple — not unlike your haircut.

JULIET

Erm, OK, so yes. No problem Jo. Nice to meet you both, virtually, at least. I’m glad you’re both well…

JO

JULIET

Yes of course. Sorry. So anyway, we see Lady Luck’s positioning as that of a challenger brand, but one which acts like a knowledge leader for women who want to bet online. Pro-feminist, anti-old school stereotypes. A fresh, honest, brave personality — the kind of fearless business that fights for womenkind. A brand your future customers would want to engage with fully — and perhaps fall in love with — platonically, of course.

JAMES

Wow — so, err, I’m intrigued — did you guys explore non-platonic love in your brainstorms?

JO

Shut it, James.

JAMES

Sorry

JO

OK, so I think we get the gist. Now you’ve fluffed us Juliet, who’s in charge of the climax? CeCe — is that you hiding under that Kaftan? Good to see you’re still clinging on.

CECE

Hello Jo, it’s… good to see you again.

JO

Yes, yes indeed. And how modern that you’ve deigned to bring your baby to our meeting. Very earth mother of you…

CECE [gritted teeth]

Yes, sorry, I’m afraid my husband’s come down with the virus, so I haven’t got much choice…

JO

Yes, of course — understandable. Still, good to see you’re still in the business — although perhaps a little surprising after that Guinness debacle back in the day. I’ll never forget the CEO’s face when you proposed an Orange Order march with everyone stripping to St George’s Cross pants for the Six Nations. Aaah, fun times.

CECE [Uneasily]

Yes, well, bygones and all that Jo. Back to the present, shall we? I’m just going to share my screen so you guys can see the work. The creative team, Chase and Dave, will walk you through the lead concept.

CHAS

Hi Jo, James. No messing about — here it is:-

JO

I’ll assume that you’re both in a jacuzzi as some kind of pitch theatre for now. More to the point, what the hell is that?

DAVE

So, in line with your fearless, pro-womenkind brand positioning, we took the most vilified man in the UK and persecuted him.

JO

OK… I mean… but who is that?

CHAS

It’s Piers Morgan — on a crucifix. Naked.

JAMES (After a lengthy silence)

Right…

DAVE

His left testicle is, as you can see, painted red. The other, juxtaposed neatly in the scrota under his sagging gut, is black. The headline reads:- “Red of Black — it’s your call”. Then we come to the strapline:- “Lady Lucks — we don’t give a f*ck”

TONY

What the…

CECE

Erm, well, they… I mean we wanted to express a true, no bullshit take on the so called ‘honesty’ trope. And I think we’ve succeeded.

JAMES

Erm, it’s… it’s quite… out there, isn’t it? Certainly brave, but…

JO

What…

TONY

But…

CHAS

It’s no holds barred. It’s Paddy Power on Smack. It leaks purpose from its pores, and it’ll demand eyeballs. Women all over Britain will be worshiping Lady Lucks Casino from Cornwall to Clackmannanshire.

JO

OK, enough of this horseshit. Where’s the real work? You’ve had your fun and I warned you, we’re short on time. Get to it.

CECE

I’m afraid that’s it, Jo. Eggs in one basket — inspired by Lady Luck’s bravery, we’re backing our beliefs.

CECE

Sorry — Julius has just puked on me — I’ll be back in a second.

[]

TONY

Mother of God…

JO

Indeed, Tony, You may well appeal to the Virgin Mary or the Messiah himself — if he hadn’t been rudely reimagined as a Breakfast TV host and neutered on a fucking cross in the name of a, for lack of a better description, ‘ad campaign’. I mean, I don’t ask for much — just something that puts us on the map, gets some PR and keeps my fucking investors at bay.

TONY

Yes, of course Jo. Well I’m as shocked as you are…

JO

You mean to say you didn’t approve this?

TONY

No, I mean yes. In a manner of speaking, of course.

JAMES (guffawing)

What a shit show

JO

I said shut it, James, you preening arsehole. This is on your watch, remember? I’d choose your response carefully and with one eye on your next twelve mortgage payments…

JAMES

OK. Understood. Sorry.

JO

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, your work so far can take its arse and go fuck itself. So Tony, Creatives, Account girl — do you have anything — and I mean anything — else? Or can I file this pitch alongside my first marriage, threesomes and Ketamine as regretful experiences I never want to live through again?

TONY

I’m sure we can workshop someth…

JO

Oh, for fucks sake, Tony…

JULIET

We did have this one thing…

DAVE

Yeah, a homage. Empowering stuff. Appeals to the masses. Tried and tested.

JO

Go on — enlighten me…

CHAS

You remember that Wonderbra campaign?

Scene 3 — The Autopsy

JULIAN

Good morning everyone. Can you hear me?

CECE & JULIET

Yes

Loud and clear, Julian

TONY

Fucking thing. Hello?

JULIAN

I can hear you, but I can’t see you, Tony.

TONY

Bloody machine. Miles? MILES! Come in here!

JULIET

Have you clicked zee camera icon, Tony?

TONY

What? Yes. No. I don’t bloody know. Yes, yes I have now. Still nothing. I’m on my Ipad — Miles has a media studies lesson on my laptop, whatever that entails. School costs more than my house and he’s learning how television works, for fuck’s sake…

JULIAN

I can see something — is the camera covered Tony?

TONY

What? Covered? No of course… MILES! Why is there a Crunchy Nut Corn Flake stuck to the camera on this thing? Christ on a bike…

[]

JULIAN

Zer you are! Hi everybody. Umm, I gather through ze medium of WhatsApp that things did not go quite, how you say? As good as ze cookie crumbles wiz Lady Lucks?

TONY

Best leave the analogies to the pros, Julian — but yes, you’ve got the gist. It was, and it depresses me to say I’m directly quoting the fucking client here, “An unmitigated disaster”. Thankfully, for the careers of those supposed ‘creatives’ and yourself CeCe, Jo still owes me from that Baileys on pack promo debacle. So we’ve got one last shot at redemption this afternoon or our goose is royally cooked.

CECE

Understood Tony — Chas and Dave have been up all night, they assure me, and should be joining the call shortly with an upgraded suite of concepts.

TONY

You’d better hope so. They’ve got until I’ve finished these croissants to persuade me not to go straight to the Underground and start inhaling large lungful’s of Covid-infected air. Go on — let’s get this over with — bring ’em in

CECE []

DAVE (In dressing gown)

Morning Chief, CeCe, Julian. ¿Cómo compadres?

CECE

Morning chaps — productive night? We’re on tenterhooks over here, if a little sleep deprived… []

CHAS

Yeah, definitely — no sleep this end, either. Totally went into the creative tundra last night to seek out the ever-elusive mammoth of an idea…. []

JULIAN

How exciting to be in the presence of such imaginations at work!

TONY

Don’t get your hopes up, there, monsieur. We’ve yet to see if they caught this mythical mammoth or, I suspect, settled for roadkill. From the looks of them, we’ll be lucky to dine on a wet kipper. Go on then, Kim and Kanye — spill the goods…

DAVE

Yeah, it’s a mammoth alright [laughing] — or [turns serious] more a herd of mammoths. A list of concepts, really…

CHAS

Is it a herd?

DAVE

Not sure. Collective noun for elephants is a herd, so…

JULIET

It’s a ‘parade’ I think?

TONY

[]

CECE

I seem to recall it’s a ‘Memory’ of elephants, which is beautiful…

TONY

Will you get on with it! If we needed to get caught up in the semantics of nomenclature, we’d start with you lot — a ‘Disaster’ of creatives seems apt. Come on — list them out, starting with the diamonds and working down towards your inevitable turds.

CHAS

OK, so here’s goes Kemosabe. Items number one — ‘Boudicca’.

[Silence]

CECE

Can you expand a little?

TONY []

Yeah, Charles. Put some meat on the bones, why don’t you?

CHAS

OK, picture the scene — a forest, deepest East Anglia, just after the birth of Christ. A woman, Boudicca, on a horse, facing up to a hoard of vengeful Romans. Boudicca’s horse rears up and slams its hooves into the marshy ground.

DAVE

She pulls out two dice and hurls them towards the lead Centurion. She hits two sixes. Her army cheers, the Romans flee in defeat. End shot — Boudicca to camera “Lady Lucks — here come the girls”

JULIET

Wow — such powerful imagery — so empowering. What strength…

JULIAN

Who eez zees lady, zees “Boodicka”?

CECE

It’s a great start guys — very emotive. I have a couple of teensy-weensy issues…

TONY [wiping croissant crumbs from his shirt]

I’ll jump in, if I may, CECE. I have some rather larger problems I’d like to flag. One — as enunciated only two days ago, budget. I.e. — we don’t have enough to re-enact fucking Braveheart. Second — we’re in a lockdown — so how on God’s green earth do you plan to shoot two armies facing off on horseback? Three — Twelve in craps is a losing bet. Fourth point — Lady Lucks doesn’t offer online craps. Five, you nicked the strapline off that old Boots Christmas ad and point number six, it’s utterly, horribly, pretentiously, worryingly shite. What’s next?

DAVE

Well, it’s pretty much the same idea, just with Joan of Arc…

TONY

NEXT!

CHAS

Taylor Swift dances…

TONY

Budget — next…

DAVE

A young boy is milking a cow

TONY

Underage, weird, next…

CHAS

The Chuckle Brothers in a windmill…

TONY

One’s dead. And, just… no. Next…

DAVE

Prue Leith’s baking a cake…

TONY

Go on…

DAVE []

…aaaand we open to a shot of her bringing a cake out of the oven. On top is a roulette wheel design in icing. Prue turns to camera and

CHAS

…she turns to camera, smiles her reassuring smile and says “In cooking, success is part judgement and part luck. If you’re looking for a recipe for success, you’ll find all the best ingredients at Lady Lucks — the online casino for women”

DAVE

Yeah, yeah — so she cuts the cake open and it’s full of money. End Shot reads:- “Lady Lucks — Winning is a piece of cake”

TONY

Hmmmm. It’s marginally less awful. Could it be shot?

CECE

Yes, certainly — we could send a sterile two-man crew to her house, shoot it from two metres distance and re-imagine the cake and overlay graphics in post-production via the gang in Lithuania. As the boys said, it’s a piece of cake!

JULIET

Very good, I can see it now.

JULIAN

Who eez zees Poo Leet?

TONY

Quiet Julian — I’m thinking… [] OK — it’s not great, but nor does it suck balls. Whack in a hashtag — ‘A Piece of Cake’ should do it — and put it in the pot for lack of anything better. Juliet? Get onto Prue’s people — she should be bankable for thirty-five K.

JULIET

I’m on it, Tony.

TONY

Right, anything else? I’ve got a Skype with my shrink at nine thirty.

DAVE

We did have a chat around four am this morning about this lesbian alien invasion concept…

TONY

No? No more? Good — then we’re done — get me some visuals by midday and I’ll see you online at five to four sharp. No mistakes this time — and that goes double for you, Bill and Ted — so sober up, show up, and maybe even dress up eh, chaps? Seegram out.

[]

Scene 4 — The Pitch

Last chance saloon — Crouching Tigers CeCe, Juliet, Chas and Dave prepare to present their final campaign pitch to Jo and James of Lady Lucks over Zoom. Tony is missing.

JULIET

Hey guys!

CECE []

Hi Juliet. Chas and Dave are online so we’re just waiting for Tony

CHAS & DAVE []

Hey…

…Afternoon amigos. Good to see you’re still here. Corona numbers have been brutal.

CECE

Yes, well I s’pose there’s that to be thankful for. Now, in Tony’s absence let’s have a final sense check. Chas, have you got the visuals ready to show?

CHAS

Yep — a smorgasbord of storyboarded nectar ready to roll.

CECE

Juliet, you spoken with Prue’s people?

JULIET

Erm, well I tried to call…

JO

Good afternoon, Tigers. CeCe — nice to see your fashion sense has, if anything, become even less professional. And the baby is back again — what fun. James, is that you skulking by the fridge? Put the Sauvignon back — we can all see you.

JAMES []

Oh hi Jo, ah ha — yes, no I was just putting it on ice for, err, later…

CECE []

Hello again Jo. Yes, Julius still here. I tried putting him on the floor but he just loves to get into the cat food — what can you do? So he’s here — again — and so am I. Tony should be here any sec now.

JO

We’re seeing the other agency at five prompt and I’ve got an Ocado delivery booked before then so let’s crack on, shall we? Tony rarely adds more than smoke, mirrors and bullshit, anyway.

CECE

OK, no problem. We took your feedback from yesterday’s tissue meeting…

JAMES

…that the work was a fucking disgrace?

JO

James, if the next words out of your mouth aren’t ‘sorry’ followed by forty minutes of silence I swear to god I’ll send a drone strike and napalm Chiswick until nothing’s left but your dental implants and fake Rolex, understood?

JAMES []

Ye… sorry

JO

Carry on, CeCe.

CECE

As I was saying, we’ve gone back to our collective mind palaces and here’s what we’ve come up with. Chas, Dave — over to you.

DAVE []

Picture the scene — it’s the first century AD — a forest in east Anglia. A woman, Joan of Arc, sits proudly astride a stallion

CECE

Dave…

DAVE

Horns blare, drumbeats reverberate as the approaching Roman army approaches ferociously, malicious intent in their eyes.

CECE

DAVE!

DAVE

From behind her shield, she reveals a set of Lady Lucks branded dice

CECE

DAVID!!! [] Dave, shouldn’t we perhaps present the lead campaign first? The Cake concept?

CHAS

Oh, no, this was definitely our A-game lead. Wasn’t it?

JULIET

No, Chas. If you recall we decided the, err, culinary execution was more fitting in line with Jo’s feedback. This morning. I sent a contact report. But CeCe, I haven…

CHAS

Oh… Well, I didn’t see that Juliet — sorry. Up all night — shattered. Seeing stars, if I’m honest.

JO

I’d strongly suggest you align your ducks, CeCe.

CECE

Sure, Jo — no problem. Chas, Dave — run with the Cake.

JULIET []

DAVE

Yep, so we haven’t actually visualised the Cake concept, as such

CHAS []

Yeah, we wanted to let the idea do the talking. Let your imaginations run riot rather than be hindered by our meagre artwork. Picture this, Jo. Zoom in on a kitchen. Tom Jones soundtrack. National Treasure Prue Leith pulls a cake out of the oven, branded with a Lady Lucks roulette wheel. She turns to camera, intent in her eyes and bellows:-

“In cooking, success is down to luck. It’s the same with gambling. Bet at Lady Lucks — it’s just for you, girls”.

JAMES

[]

JO

Well, I’ll assume I can ignore that Joan of Arc bullshit and move straight onto the main course, as it were. The concept’s pretty lightweight and the copy’s shite, but as a huge Bake Off fan, I can just about glimpse an atom of potential.

[]

JO

I’m surprised we can afford her — even more surprised she’d allow her personal brand to be attached to a betting business, but needs must, I s’pose. How much is she asking?

CECE []

Erm, Juliet, you’ve been negotiating with her agent. Where do we stand?

JULIET []

We… we actually… we don’t. I mean, we didn’t. Get a price.

CECE

Oh, no matter, plenty of time for brass tacks after…

JULIET

No, CeCe, I mean her agent said she wouldn’t do it. Same for Mel & Sue. And Sandi Toksvig.

JO

Here we go. Is there a happy ending to this story, Juliet? No hang on — let me guess…

JULIET

Nigella said maybe.

JO

How much does that flouncing floozie want?

JULIET

Half a million up front. Plus twenty thousand in her casino account so she can ‘test’ the product.

JO

Cheeky bitch — got to give her credit for trying. Which is way more than I can say about…

TONY []

Hello? Hey everyone. Jo, James — sorry I’m late — unavoidable I’m afraid. Cow of a wife decided to have an affair and somehow — SOMEHOW — I get kicked out of my own bloody house! Equal opportunities my arse. Anyway, don’t mind me [swigs from a bottle of Krug] I’ll just keep quiet. Like a mouse [] How’s it going anyway? Have I missed the main event?

[]

JO

Why are you naked, Tony?

TONY

Ha ha — I’m not naked Jo. Not at all! I read some, some… how can I put this? Quite ‘salacious’ Whats App messages, there was some pushing and shoving and next thing, I’m in the garden throwing my clothes at the kitchen window. At least the bitch had the good grace to throw a few of these at me [waves champagne bottle]. So here we are.

CHAS & DAVE []

JULIET []

Oh dear God! []

JO

Here we are indeed. Well, just so we don’t have to see any more of your porridgy physique, I’ll do the talking for the last two minutes of this call. This whole pitch has been a fucking fiasco. I see Juliet at least has had the common sense to pull the rip cord and bail out.

TONY

But Jo…

JO

Don’t ‘but Jo’ me, Tony. It’s clear to every sober member of your agency present that your goose is royally cooked. Your ‘team’ has presented one meaningless concept juxtaposed, neatly, with one utterly unfeasible one.

CHAS

But Nigella’s up for it?

JO

Her domestic uselessness wants half a Mil plus vig, you fucking hippie.

DAVE

She makes a bloody good chocolate cake…

JO []

I’d threaten to report this fiasco to your boss, but I seriously doubt he’d remember. This pitch is over, and from what I’ve heard, I’ll be the last client who has to suffer this level of crass ineptitude ever again.

CECE

Jo, can I just say one thing?

JO

No!

TONY

[] But Jo, before you go, perhaps I might?

JAMES

This should be good

JO

I’ve warned you, James…

TONY []

Well, Jo, as far as I can make out, your seed funding round, a smidgen over a Million quid, came from ex-colleagues, Venture Capital and your own good self.

JO

So what?

TONY

Over seventy percent of your capital came from one fund in particular, Verecker VC.

JO

Don’t tell me you’re going to try and pull rank with your golfing chums, Tony? That’s a piss poor effort, even for you.

TONY

No, nothing as roundabout as that. You see, when I discovered my errant wife had been playing away this morning, the only thing more upsetting than the pending legal bill was the identity of the individual she’d been bumping her not inconsiderable uglies with. One Tobias Eustace Verecker, OBE.

JAMES

Christ…

TONY

Yes, Christ indeed, James, you toadying creep. I assume you’ve heard of Toby’s wife, the dreadful but quite brilliant Barrister, Eleanor Verecker QC? That would be a divorce battle that would make the Somme look like Gardener’s World.

JO

What have you done?

TONY

Done Jo? [] I’ve done nothing — not really. Just sent a little message to my chum James saying how much The Crouching Tigers are looking forward to adding value to his latest investment. I also asked whether he and his good lady wife would be free for a fourball after the lockdown.

I did send it from my wife’s phone, however, which may have encouraged his immediate agreement to the affirmative.

CHAS & DAVE

[]

TONY

Let’s set up a kick start call next week. Adios, bitches! Seegram Out! []

JO

But…

CECE []

But what, Jo? I’ll ask Juliet to send the contract tomorrow. Our fees will be reasonable, I’m sure. And can I just say, what an absolute pleasure it’ll be to work with you again?

And don’t worry — I’m we’ll be able to secure Ainsley Harriot within the constraints of your budget — that sound good to you?

-Ends-

Series Development Plan

Now adversely betrothed to Jo and Lady Lucks Casino, the Crouching Tigers need to deliver their lacklustre campaign remotely whilst keeping the agency afloat. Defections, treachery and backstabbing become business as usual as incumbent clients attempt to inject ‘purpose’ into their otherwise mercenary business plans and the agency’s wheels, wobbling already, start to fall off with alarming regularity.

Biography — Harry Lang

I live in south west London with my wife Caroline and 18-month old daughter, Tilly. Professionally, I run Brand Architects — a strategic marketing and brand consultancy. Currently clientless, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to write ‘The Pitch’ as my submission for the Galton and Simpson Bursary has been one of the few positive outputs of the lock down. I’ve written regular features Campaign, Marketing Week, iGaming Business, eGaming Review and SBC News and have also written two novels, ‘Parabolic’ and ‘Try Morality’, both available on Amazon.

I'm a UK based Marketing Director specialising in brand, customer acquisition, PR and copy. I write regular features for Marketing Week and Campaign.

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