As a 'courtesy,' they invited us to participate in the pitch.
Wary of not re-engaging with what had been a tenuous, high maintenance relationship at best, I asked our point person to carefully qualify the opportunity. She did so, and reported back that the prospect was 'limiting' the field and would duly note our track record in their evaluation.
Since the budget was respectable, the times were tough and the client sported a recognizable brand name, I gave a reluctant go-ahead.
Later that very same week, though, O'Dwyer's ran a front page story indicating the prospect was issuing an RFP. Oh boy. 'Danger Will Robinson!!!!!' When O'Dwyer's runs a front page story announcing an RFP, one can safely go to the bank assuming that everyone and their brother will be pitching the account.
Our point person promised to check with the prospect. After doing so, she insisted we still had a great chance and should proceed. So, times being what they were, we did. And, we heard nothing for the longest time. Complete radio silence from the prized prospect.
Then last week, rising like some proverbial Phoenix, the contact resurfaced. We received a long note thanking us for our 'excellent' submission, but letting us know that, sadly, we hadn't made the final round.
To cushion our loss, though, the prospect was nice enough to let us know he'd received some 55, count 'em 55, proposals. Let me repeat that number: 55.
How'd you like to cozy up to 55 public relations proposals over a bottle of chardonnay, some Barry White love songs and a roaring fire? I can think of more romantic weekend escapes.
To further cushion our loss, the prospect really opened up in his note and told us we had made it to the 'semifinal round of 10' agencies. Oh boy! The semifinal round of 10? What are the odds of that? Actually, I guess they'd be one in five. Nonetheless, what an honor!
And, where would the semifinals be held? Greensboro Coliseum? The Staples Center in LA? MSG itself? And, who else made the semis? Gonzaga? Syracuse? Wake Forest? What a joke.
As Steely Dan wrote, 'They got a name for the winners in the world. I want a name when I lose. They call Alabama the Crimson Tide. Call me Deacon Blues.'
After this experience, you can also call me Deacon Done. I am so done with not trusting my gut and avoiding these pointless cattle calls.