Maria, thank you so much for coming. You're welcome. It's really great to have you here, come all the way to New York just for this interview. Fantastic. So, Maria, what you do? I work as a creative director in a pharmaceutical company. We do advertising for pharmaceutical basically. But you've worked in different sectors as well. You worked in consumer? Yeah, I mean, the more experience that I have is in pharmaceutical advertising but I work in consumer. I also work in plain graphic design packaging, a lot of things in communication in general. As part of the work that you do, how many creative pitches do you do in a year? Depends on the year and depends how busy I am in other accounts. But you should account for 25 percent of your time should be dedicated to pitching. And what purpose does the creative pitch serve? What is a creative pitch? So, the create pitch is based on growth whether you are a small company or you're a big company. If you're a small company, you do it to build your company. If you are a big agency, it is necessary because you have to continue feeding the big machine to survive. Also if you are part of a big network, like we are, we are given a number at the beginning of the year that we have to meet. So you have to account for probably some accounts that you're going to lose because of the rotation of the business. So it is part of the job. Like I said, in my job description, it says that 25 percent of my time should be dedicated to pitching. And what is a creative pitch? A creative pitch, I like to think about it like speed dating. It's the beginning of a relationship with clients. I think that's the base. You should approach it as, you are trying to establish a relationship with the client, besides the brand, besides anything. Because, you're going to have to spend a lot of time working with them. As a matter of fact, through the years, I realized that creative, which is what I do, doesn't really win a pitch. What wins a pitch is the chemistry and the relationships because with the years, you know a lot of clients so you try to pitch things where you know somebody so you have some advantages in there. But a pitch is, like I said, you don't have a lot of time to convince that you are the best match. So how do creative pitches, do creative pitches come to you? Do you have to go looking for them? What is the process? So, if you work in a small agency, you look for the pitches, logically. If you work in a big agency, there is a mechanism. There is a team internally, that they are constantly in the search of receiving pitches. So, when you are in a big agency, like the one that I work, the clients look for you because you have a lot of experience, because you have a name. There is a mechanism where we will receive the document, that they request a project, and it just comes to you. So the chief creative officer, which I report to, he distributes the pitches to the different creative directors according to the experience that you have and the teams that you hold. What is the creative pitch? What is it? What does it entail? What happens? Do you go to the client? Is there a presentation? What is it actually made of? Depends, it's a process of investigation throughout. Right after you get the request for the project, you schedule a Q&A with the client. I mean, that's almost the case. Sometimes, you don't have the chance to have a Q&A to ask questions. But then, before the Q&A and, the Q&A happens maybe two or three days after you receive the request for projects, you have to put together a well equipped team. Then you get together, you do a quick search of what is the brand about, is it new, does it exist, you research about the company. You find out everything that you can to put together a list of questions to give you more definition on what the assignment is. When you make a creative pitch, what are the things, what are the component elements? Because you've described to me in conversations that we've had about, for example, about how you dress when you go to visit the client. And then, that you might actually put together mock-ups, that you actually create videos, that there are things that you leave behind. What of sort of those elements that you think are essential? So because we do so many pitches, we do have kind of like a menu. A system where we do, it is hard to describe in sequence because there's so many things happening at the same time but I'll try. So the first thing is the creation of the strategy. We also do sessions where we collectively try to really identify where is the opportunity for the brand, etc, etc. We will also try to get the current positioning that the brand has and revise it if it's necessary. And it's really a bet of what the strategy is going to be because sometimes you don't know much about the brand. So after that, once we have the strategy in place, we brainstorm depending on the size of the pitch, from three teams to 50 teams of copywriter and our director. And then we filter all the ideas through the creative brief. So they have to be in the strategy, they have to be unique. At the same time there is a team that does an examination of what is currently on the market in that area. Just to make sure we don't repeat a campaign, we don't draft an idea that already exist. And then, we start building the deck. The deck is the immersion part, really get immersed in the category, and then set up the strategy. We also do social listening if it applies. So, while the creative team is creating all the comp sets, the strategy team and the rest of the teams, they continue investigating, they never stop till the day before the pitch really. Can you give me, off the top of your head, an example of a strategic statement? Yes, I remember one specifically that was really good. I don't want to tell you what the brand is or what the condition. But it was really a symptom that was really hard to spot. So the statement for the brief was, "Where there is smoke, there is fire". Meaning, if you see something, probably there's something more important. And that's the strategic statement? Yes. Where there's smoke, there's fire. And that single idea is the launch pad. For everything. For millions of dollars worth of campaign and everything. That one single concept. Incredible. So then the creative concept comes from. From that. From that. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. And a strategy statement doesn't have to be creative and it doesn't have to be cute but sometimes it is. So it has to be inspiring to develop the creative ideas and it has to be just right. That's amazing because the way you say it, immediately it's visual. Yes. Which is interesting, it's not just the technical expression but it's actually something that would give you visual ideas immediately. The strategy is the hardest part of a pitch and it's just a single statement. So, when you talk about the deck, is the deck the actual presentation? Yes. Okay. And so what elements might go into the deck? It's really really variable. Like I mentioned before, you have your capabilities as an agency. So, a little bit about ask who we are, and the experience that we have, etc, etc. And then you right away go into the immersion so they know that we have investigated about the brand, and the situation, and the market. Maybe, we had done some research so we also include it on the deck. So, we are building the story. In reality, the deck is the story that we're trying to say. And what is always on the end of the deck is the creative.