Johnson Gray's staff may be wringing out their pants, but their efforts paid off.
The Newport Beach, Calif., agency pitched the Orange County Tourism Council with a flood theme, meant to indicate that a flood of tourism (get it?) would arrive under the shop's guidance. The idea gave life to care packages sent to the council that consisted of life preservers and a bright orange "emergency flood kit." But the warm glow of creative satisfac tion quickly grew cold.
Agency principal Will Johnson rolled in to work at 8 a.m. the day of the final pitch only to find the prod uction, traffic and creative departments flooded for real—victims of a renegade pipe that leaked after the city replaced water meters and incorrectly set the timer.
Meanwhile, sitting in the parking lot, a tad mockingly, were oodles of flood supplies, including flashing "caution" signs and several tons of sandbags.
The shop went ahead with the pitch, sheepishly leading 15-20 council board members over soggy carpets and up to the third-floor conference room.
"I wouldn't have wished this on myself," says Johnson. "But all I could do was laugh. They definitely enjoyed the effort we put into the whole flood theme."
The shop lost $10-15,000 worth of brochures but won the heart of the tourism council—and its account, worth $750,000 a year for five years.