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Diary: Cowie shows clients the only way to fly

Ah, the perils of the global pitch. Long-haul flights, hours in heartless boardrooms, constant jetlag ... overhearing the pitch preparations of your fellow competing agencies as you tuck into the unidentifiable vegetables in your airplane-grade beef Stroganov, while the pitch consultant is fed caviar in his fully reclining first-class seat.

The latter examples may not be as common, but were certainly some of the pitfalls experienced by those competing in the global Dulux pitch.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, DDB, Euro RSCG and Bartle Bogle Hegarty all found themselves on the same flights as they globetrotted to Paris, Sao Paulo and even Shanghai in a bid to secure the coveted global business.

While no doubt some useful covert information was gathered while pretending to watch the screening of Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, it was the location of Peter Cowie, the co-founder of Oystercatchers, the intermediary that is running the pitch, that was cause for most amusement.

Picture the scene, you, the cash-strapped client, are queueing to board behind the pitch consultant, who you are bankrolling. In a bid to cut costs and keep the whole process as economically viable as possible, you've frugally plumped for business rather than first class. There's a recession on, after all.

But what's this? As you turn right and settle into your business seat, your pitch consultant, in this case Cowie, takes a sharp left, through the curtains into luxury.

Rumour has it that it was just a fortunate one-off upgrade that Cowie had enjoyed. Nevertheless, if the upgrade didn't put the client's nose out of joint, the fact that it secured Cowie a seat next to none other that Lewis Hamilton, making his way to the Grand Prix, probably would have done.

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