The Pitch

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Pitch TV Poster Image
Real-life Mad Men is a great media literacy tool.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show lionizes hard work and commitment; it may also help teens think about why ads appeal or don't, and what effect they're reaching for.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mostly hard-working professionals here, but they are often rude to each other and dismissive of each other's work. Gender diversity.


Some ad campaigns contain racy content.


Tons of bleeped cursing as the advertisers hash out campaigns: "Don't a--hole out," "bulls--t." There are some non-bleeped curses too: "This looks like ass," "Getting 18 year olds to eat breakfast will be a bitch."


Advertising for specific products, like Subway, is the name of the game; however, kids get a look behind ad campaigns and learn how ads try to appeal to them.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ad campaigns may feature products like alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Pitch is a reality show that hangs around people at work in offices; thus, it's too talky for younger kids, even though it probably won't hurt them to watch (although parents may not be crazy about the cursing, through stronger stuff is bleeped). The professionals featured on the show are hard-working and dedicated, but they're also abrasive, dismissive of each other, and jaded. One nice feature: The advertising companies often have roughly an equal number of men and women working together and leading teams, a nice subtle message about equality and respect.

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What's the story?

Like Mad Men, THE PITCH digs into advertising -- but this time in a reality format. Each week, two agencies compete in week-long battles to produce a winning campaign for a particular client, say, Subway, which is looking to interest 18- to 24-year-olds in their line of breakfast foods. Viewers watch as copywriters, visual artists, directors, agency heads, and others grapple to come up with ad campaign ideas and present them at client meetings, resulting in a show that's short on manufactured drama (i.e. fights between contestants) and long on the real work of advertising.

Is it any good?

The Pitch focuses assiduously on the real work of advertising, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because who needs another show where people scream at each other? Bad because it's just not that exciting to show people sitting in meetings, and there are a heck of a lot of them in The Pitch, which will probably turn off teens who need a little more oomph in their programming.

Still, the look into the kitchen where the sausage is made is instructive. A young person who learns how advertising works, understands who ads are trying to appeal to, and what method they're using to do so, is a young person who's no longer easily swayed by ads. For that reason alone, whole-family viewing with discussions afterward is a fine idea.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the advertising campaigns featured on the show. Do they appeal to you? Why or why not? Does knowing how they were constructed help you appreciate their artistry more, or turn you off?

  • Would you like to go into advertising? Why or why not? What about this show attracts you to the profession, or makes you think it's not for you?

  • Advertisements are usually aimed at a specific type of person. What are some ads you can name that are pitched at a person like you? Now when you see ads, will you think about the type of person that ad is trying to appeal to?

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 30, 2012
  • Network: AMC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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