Ad Exec Jo Muse Makes New Reality Show "The Pitch" Worth Watching [EXCLUSIVE]
Read why his Muse Communications could win it all
Not all reality TV shows lack substance. Enter The Pitch, a new competition series in which some of the best advertising agencies in the country will get pit against each other every week. The contestants' mission is to create the best campaign for various clients, and the winning agency not only gets to spread the name of their brand, but they also get a new client in real life.
Each week begins a new cycle of competitors, but there's one in particular that caught our attention. Founded by Jo Muse over 20 years ago, Muse Communications is known as one of advertising’s most imaginative and progressive companies in the U.S. They’ve worked with a range of clients from American Honda to Nike and, though Muse remained mum about who comes out on top during the competition, he did give us insight into why his company is unique (and what makes The Pitch a show worth your DVR).
Loop 21: Tell us about your company.
Muse: Muse Communications is an ad agency in Culver City, California that has been doing business for 25 years in consumer product categories, including work for clients like the Federal Government, the California lottery and Wells Fargo bank. We did a campaign for American Honda called “Civic Nation” that was one of the most highly regarded, not only with urban audiences, but with general audiences. And critically, the work that I’ve done for Nike has been seen as some of the most remarkable. We have a very keen practice in terms of developing product work for clients and The Pitch contacted us because they admired that.
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Loop 21: Are you a fan of reality TV? What shows did you watch prior to this experience?
I watched Celebrity Apprentice and The Apprentice a lot. I enjoyed it -- the interplay with Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken and those guys. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of reality programming, but The Pitch takes a different approach in creating the right stories with dramatic content. Even though it’s a reality show, it’s gonna prove to be very different when it comes to quality and the storylines.
Loop 21: Will people try to compare The Pitch to The Apprentice?
Muse: No. I don’t think it’s the same. First off, the agencies involved are not celebrities. And they’re teams as opposed to specific individuals. We’re developing work for one episode for one competition over a one-hour show, not over a period of 10 episodes.
Loop 21: So there’s no cash prize?
Muse: There wasn’t a prize except the acknowledgement that the client liked the work and wanted to produce it.
Loop 21: What you do for a living is already high-pressure. Even more so with cameras around, right?
Muse: Being the head of the company and being on camera more often than other executives, I tend to be a bit more comfortable with it, but I think the team overall is so concerned about looking foolish or saying the wrong thing that they’re just guarded, so the original encounters on camera are often very affected by people not being willing to be too hyperactive or too excited about things.
Loop 21: Describe your leadership style.
Muse: I’m an inclusive leader. I give people a chance to contribute against the direction of where the company is headed, or against the mission of the specific client and project. I try to work with them so I can move them in the needed direction without too much prodding or too much correction. I’m responsive and, at the same time, very willing for my team to step up and make things happen on their own.
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Loop 21: What’s unique about what your company brings to the table?
Muse: The quality of our people which is evidenced by our diversity. We have a remarkable group of people with different talents who come from a tremendous variety of ethnicities and cultures. Our folks are great at what they do, but the fact that we bring a lot of diversity to the work that we do singles us out.
Loop 21: What do you want people to take away from watching your company on The Pitch?
Muse: There’s gonna be millions of people who are seeing this project, and many of them have never known about us, so we want them to remember our name.
The Pitch airs Monday, April 30 at 9/8c on AMC.