With Valentine’s Day recently behind us and social distancing having become the norm, it occurred to me that the agency selection process increasingly resembles online dating.


Lockdown seems to have enhanced numerous parallels: –


1. We have seen both clients and agencies ‘up their game’ in terms of creating a digital footprint via a huge increase in social content. This serves as a virtual shop window on their business ‘persona’ and a chance to check out their former ‘relationships’.


2. The involvement of a pitch consultant or intermediary appears to have significantly increased. Is it fair to say that they play the role of an ‘eHarmony’ or perhaps, in some cases, ‘Tinder’?!


3. With little or no face-to-face meetings possible, both parties are forced to make the most of the initial Zoom chemistry session which, I suppose, becomes the equivalent of a ‘first date’. Expect lots of camera-on, eye contact and ice breaking amidst the inevitable buffering and cries of …‘You’re on mute.’


4. The full-blown pitch becomes the ‘second (or third) date’. This one really isn’t about how you look or the quality of your ‘chat up lines’ but what you actually have to offer this new relationship. Receive a positive response to that and I suspect virtual ‘hugging’ would be appropriate.


By the time we get to ‘fourth base’, I guess we’ll have moved beyond the thrill of a one-night stand. Instead, seeking to form a meaningful long-term relationship based on mutual respect and trust.


If not, then all that digital ‘courting’ could leave us feeling more than a little rejected and we may well have been better off ‘swiping left’ in the first place!



Paul Phelps



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