Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Unmade: media and marketing analysis
The hour that decides an agency's fate: Jonathan Pease on how to win the room

The hour that decides an agency's fate: Jonathan Pease on how to win the room

Welcome to an audio-led edition of Unmade.

Today’s edition features a conversation with Jonathan Pearse, author of book Winning the Room, designed to help agency executives pitch better.

Further down, a strong day on the Unmade Index.

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‘I became obsessed with what makes an agency win and lose’: Jonathan Pease on how adland can pitch better

Winning the Room was inspired by observing the failures and successes of pitches in the meeting room

Communications agencies still win (or lose) much of their new business via competitive pitches.

Often, the process culminates in a single timeslot of an hour or less, in which the agency needs to persuade its prospective client of the merits of its thinking and work.

Jonathan Pease - or JP as he’s commonly known within the industry - has been contemplating those key moments for much of his recent career, including his coaching business Winning The Room.

He’s now published a book by the same title.

JP spent much of his career within the agency world including a a suit at BBDO in New York and later BMF in Sydney.

He went on to become executive ideas director at Naked Communications before becoming a co-founder of strategy agency Tongue, which was eventually folded into WPP’s AKQA.

In today’s edition, Pease speaks to Unmade’s Cat McGinn about the book, which covers techniques and methods to help give more effective presentations. In its chapters, Pease digs into the difference that setting a mood and envrionment for the presentation can make.

Pease, who saw his public profile raised thanks to his onscreen role in Australia’s Next Top Model, says: “Most people would assume that I would write a book about creativity, or maybe even running an agency. But I've been sitting in pitches now for the last 29 years, and I've been watching and learning and gathering. During that process, I've just grabbed together the most actionable, most road tested skills, and I've thought, hey, you know what? It works in a workshop, which I do a lot of, but it felt like a book was probably required.”

Pease mentioned that most people in the industry neglect the importance of being good storytellers do not put enough effort into their presentations and pitches.

“I think most people in business rely on being excellent at their job, being a thought leader. And then they leave the presentation or pitch moment up to mainly luck, right They just roll into these very important one hour slots that can really play out the trajectory of a person's career in that one hour.”

“I think a lot of people in business, and probably in life, rely on luck and their own personality when it comes to public speaking or pitching, and I just think that's a real miss because these are those one hour slots that end up paving the way for a year, two years, sometimes longer of a piece of business or an opportunity or funding of an idea.

“So I have become obsessed with those one hour blocks, that pitch moment. I really want to design them, design every single inch of that moment and give ideas the best chance of happening.”

He also shared his perspective on why pitches often die in the meeting room - typically because if they possess a unique, provocative nature, they typically inspire inertia rather than acceptance. “If they're any good, they're different and maybe slightly provocative and potentially not easy to get your head around.

“It's those ideas that provoke and create real change. They're the ones that have to get up, but by their very nature, they're a little harder to buy. So the way you present it and the way you pitch it often is the difference between success and failure, which is concerning because it's actually not about the quality of the idea.

“I've seen pretty ho-hum ideas get up and I've seen brilliant ideas die based on the way they were pitched.”

*As is discussed during the interview, Cat McGinn assisted with research during the writing and editing process of publishing Winning the Room.

Unmade Index soars back into the 600s

Seja Al Zaidi writes:

It was a great day for most stocks on the Unmade Index, which rose strongly yesterday. The overall Index saw a boost of 2.17% to 611.5 points.

The Market Herald rose by 8.33%. In another sign of the current management’s attempts to cut ties with its previous leadership, the company last night formally told the ASX that at the end of this week it will be renaming itself The Market Ltd, and replacing its TMH ticker code with MKT.

Meanwhile, Enero Group lifted 4.59%, IVE Group 3.63%, Southern Cross Austereo 2.45% and ARN Media 1.60%.

The larger stocks also well - Domain climbed 3.36%, Ooh Media 3.33% and Nine 2.08%.

Seven West Media and Pureprofile were the only stocks to drop - by 3.57% and 1.82% respectively.

Seven’s market capitalisation briefly dropped below $400m yesterday, with the company trading at its lowest point since 2020.

Time to leave you to your Thursday.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our monthly dig into retail media.

Editing was courtesy of Abe’s Audio, the people to talk to about voiceovers, sound design and podcast production.

Message us: letters@unmade.media

Have a great day.


Tim Burrowes

Publisher - Unmade

Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Media and marketing news with all the in-depth analysis, insight and context you need.
Unmade offers industry news from an Australian perspective, from the founder of Mumbrella and the author of the best-selling book Media Unmade, Tim Burrowes