The Pitch
t 6:20 p.m. on a warm evening in May 2008, ad ex-
ecutives trickled into the agency’s large conference
Open windows let in the sounds of Manhat-
tan traffic along with a refreshing breeze. Projected on the
wall was the PowerPoint presentation the Asian Ads account
team had sent to the client for a new business pitch. They had
worked well with this client over the years by developing and
producing insurance and financial services ads for Chinese
American audiences. Today they were presenting their ideas
for a brand launch into markets designated as “Asian Indian”
and “Korean” by the U.S. Census. Ad executives who worked
on the pitch gathered around the speakerphone in the center
of the conference table, speculating about the location of the
client based on the unfamiliar area code the account execu-
tive was dialing. “Indiana! Wow. I didn’t expect that,” one cre-
ative exclaimed as she looked over the brand- awareness print
creative concept. An automated voice greeted them from the
pod in the center of the large conference table. “Please wait
for the moderator of your conference,” requested the pleasant
female voice as the account executive hit “mute” and the team
reviewed their plan for the presentation. The account execu-
tive began to quiet down her colleagues when the automated
voice finally announced, “Your moderator has arrived. Wel-
come to the Allied Country conferencing center. Please enter
your pin code followed by the pound key.” A larger than usual
group had assembled for this new business pitch, each ready
to contribute if needed. Sunil, an account executive who had
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