Pitch imperfect: power relations and ceremonial values in the public relations pitching process

BRIDGEN, Elizabeth (2022). Pitch imperfect: power relations and ceremonial values in the public relations pitching process. Media Practice.

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/25741...
Open Access URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/257411... (Published)


Public relations (PR) agencies often win work by responding to competitive tenders for new business in the form of a presentation known as a ‘pitch’. PR pitches are bound by few rules and there is often little or no transparency. Contracts can be awarded on intangibles such as ‘chemistry’. PR practitioners may put many hours of unpaid work into pitches and not receive any useful feedback if unsuccessful. This article researches the practice of pitching through interviews with regional UK public relations agencies and an analysis of textbook advice. It views the process via the lens of ceremonial values to understand why a flawed business arrangement thrives in an occupation striving to be seen as a profession. The study demonstrates that the imbalance of power in the pitching process works in favour of the client. Agency leaders cited the human cost of pitching, the lack of transparency in the pitching process and the lack of feedback after a pitch as the main issues with the process. Textbook advice stresses the value of ‘chemistry’ and puts responsibility on the PR agency for making the relationship work which immediately puts the agency in a subservient position.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communication and Computing Research Centre; Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute; Public Relations; 1505 Marketing; 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media; 2001 Communication and Media Studies
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2022 15:48
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 10:00
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30792

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