DIARY: Dairy Crest's Paul Tolly makes a (vegetarian) meal of pitch process

It's official. Comparing Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO with Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB is like comparing apples and pears - literally. It seems that the Dairy Crest client, Paul Tolly, has found himself unable to cope with the amount of names above agency doors for the purposes of his current pitch. No fewer than 12 of adland's finest surnames feature on his shortlist: Clemmow, Hornby, Inge, Banks, Hoggins, O'Shea, Mustoe, Merriman, Levy, Abbott, Mead and Vickers (but, mercifully, he can forget the latter three as the agency is not going to pitch.) And then there's also the rather easier to remember Grey.

Not wanting to make a fool of himself by misnaming any of the pitching shops - imagine the embarrassment of saying: "Send in Hornby O'Shea Levy for the next pitch" - Tolly has devised a scheme to prevent any faux pas.

Enter his fruit bowl. In a bizarre move that could only have been inspired by a childhood spent watching Play School, he's named each agency after a piece of fruit for the duration of the pitch to avoid any slip-ups.

AMV and BHO were allocated the pear and apple names, while CHI takes on the guise of a pineapple. Grey is a banana and Mustoe becomes a fig.

Pitching agencies, being the paranoid entities they are, have searched for meanings hidden in their new names, but so far have come up with nothing concrete.

At first they thought the fruit identities were a means of keeping the shortlist secret, but realised this couldn't be the case as they all met and told each other their fruity pseudonym at the first pitch meeting last week. Hopefully, it will all become clear at the pitch's conclusion in a couple of weeks.


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