Creative Director & Podcast Host

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Industry Articles About, Design, Technology, Personal Development and Finance. By Ricky Richards.

Advertising Pitch Presentation Techniques

 

 Advertising pitch decks are typically made of three constituent parts, the imagery, the text and the reference links. This post takes you through some of the techniques I've picked up for creating effective decks for winning pitches.

 

STEP 1: IMAGERY

I believe imagery is the most important part of a good pitch deck. It acts as the bridge between your vision and how the client is going to interpret your idea.

Tip 1. Pinterest

The number one tip for always having good deck imagery is to start a Pinterest board. Any good art director will tell you that Pinterest is an essential tool. You can collate and categorise thousands of images that interest you and quickly access them to include in your decks. Click HERE to view my Pinterest.

Tip 2. Look & Feel

Brands will very often have a particular style that dictates their output. Unless your brief is to reimagine this style, I would encourage you to find images that align with their pre existing aesthetic. There have been times when i've presented and the client has pointed to an image and said that they've used the same reference for an internal meeting. This is a great sign because you've shown that you understand the look and feel they're trying to achieve.

Tip 3. Cross Colour Technique 

This technique helps for creating beautiful looking mood boards. Lets imagine that your mood board consists of 9 images and you're trying to communicate a blue and orange colour pallet. Try and create patterns in the allocated spaces. For example, you may create a cross of blue images and fill in the remaining squares with orange images, this gives an overall coherent look that makes your mood board look considered and polished.

This is a 6 image mood board but you can see it's pink on the left, blue in the middle and orange on the right. This makes it feel more coherent.

This is a 6 image mood board but you can see it's pink on the left, blue in the middle and orange on the right. This makes it feel more coherent.

Tip 4. Try Not To Include Brands

Where possible, try not to include too many images that show off a brand. Brands come with beliefs attached and you don't want an image you borrowed from Nike for example, swaying a client because they feel the look you're going for is too 'high performance'. On the flip side, if you're trying to convey 'high performance', then including a Nike image might be the way to go and you'll need to make a judgment call. The second benefit of not making your deck imagery overly branded, is that you can repurpose it easily. 1 in every 100 ideas will go through to get made, so the more ideas you can collate overtime and repurpose, the better.

STEP 2: TEXT

I'm a firm believer that the text on a good pitch deck should be more like an elevator pitch and less of a lengthy description. The premise of a deck is to generate interest in an idea. The complexity of how it will be executed should come later in the deck.

Tip 1: Reversing Text From The Brief

When you receive a brief from a client, you should assume that that words have been carefully thought out. They will very often use key terminology to describe the way they want the project to feel such as 'contemporary' 'high end' or 'playful' etc... When you receive the brief make a point of going through and marking the key terminology with a highlighter pen. Base your idea around these points and when you come to write the descriptions for your idea, be sure to include any stand out words that come from the brief. If the client doesn't like your idea when you come to present it, you can refer to the points in the brief that the idea answers. At this point you'll either be given more information that gets you closer to where they actually want the work to be, or they'll realise they're being subjective rather than objective and you may be able to force the idea through.
 

Tip 2: Emotive language

You can use emotive language to have a greater impact on your audience. Words have the power to provoke a positive response or a negative response and even a mixed response. Honda did this well with their ad, 'Hate something, change something, make something better.' The best examples of emotive language are newspapers who are renowned for using negative emotive language such as: ' The government will slash interest rates' or 'Mr Davis was subject to a vicious cowardly assault.' I'm not a great emotive writer but you get the point, you can reinforce a message by using words to bolster your points and create a visceral reaction in those your pitching to.
 

Tip 3: Project Name

The name of the project is one of the most convincing elements. If you can encapsulate the message you're attempting to convey in a succinct and memorable way then that is often the thing that will stick with the client long after you've left. The name often doubles up as the end line of the campaign, can you imagine receiving a deck with the title, 'Life's A Sport, Make It Count' or 'The Futures Bright, The Futures Orange.' Even if the visuals were awful you'd have to walk out that meeting inspired. It's moments like these when a brand realises they've acquired not just an idea, but an asset that they can use for years to come. Ideas like, 'If Carlsberg Made...', aren't just one trick ponies, they're licences to create award winning campaigns for generations to come.
 

Tip 4: Use The Brand Tone Of Voice.

Regardless of weather the brand has a cheerful tone of voice or is more serious, you should always attempt to write the project description in a way that is going to resonate with the brand. Anything you can do to help the client feel as though this is an extension of their existing brand is more likely to get the go ahead.

Tip 5: Use Googles Key Word Tool

Google analytics has a keyword search tool that shows you exactly how many people are searching for certain terms on Google. If you can identify key search terms that are being used to drive traffic to the particular product you're trying to sell then you can work that into your tagline and use it as another selling point when you're trying to pitch in the idea. This isn't typically your job, but if you can do it then it shows you understand the clients needs and you'll be more likely to get your idea through.

STEP 3: References

The references are the icing on the cake. They're the part of the pitch where you can show the client something that is polished and justify your ideas with previous work.
 

Tip 1: Use References That Worked

The most important rule of showing a client a reference video, is to show them a video that worked. This will probably be a strong view count which i appreciate is a terrible metric to judge the merits of a video, but if you show a client a reference video with very few views then they'll be instantly discouraged. You can get away with this a bit more if the reference video is old or with static images, but again I'd encourage you to find notable references.

Tip 2: Highlight The Results

This isn't always possible, but if you can show a client of the video you are referencing then this will again act as a positive reinforcement for why you're referencing it. This might be a spike in sales, or more sign ups, and increases in traffic and free media. This step isn't essential but it certainly helps to get the client on side if you can get access to this information.

I hope you found this useful. I'f you felt you took something away from it then why not pass it on to someone else who needs the advice? Or maybe you could follow me to see what I publish in the future. Thank you for your time.

 
Ricky Richards