The campaign for Kent Feeds, Muscatine, Iowa, will break nationally as scheduled on Sept. 1. That required that final production of the campaign which includes TV, radio, print, outdoor and promotion - be completed partially in agency president Ted Priebe's unfinished basement because MBA's office building has been surrounded by as much as 14 feet of water that wiped out a restaurant and several offices on the basement level of the building. MBA staffers used a rowboat and trudged through waist-high water to reach the building and their third floor offices to rescue files, computers and furniture.
Final touches on the Kemp Feed media plan were completed at another staffer's home.
'I don't think our clients, many of whom are out of town, can really understand how crazy the past two weeks have been,' Priebe said. 'They've been completely understanding, but unless you're here, it's impossible to know what we've been through.'
By last Monday, MBA had its phones forwarded to Priebe's basement, had established an every-other-day fax to get information to clients, suppliers and friends and was working on completing one of its biggest campaigns of the year.
A number of advertising agencies in Des Moines, one of the areas hardest hit by severe flooding two weeks ago, have struggled to salvage water-logged offices and relocate staffers while maintaining service to clients.
Zimmerman, Laurent & Richardson, housed on the first floor of the same building as MBA, rushed to remove files and equipment as the water rose.
'At one point the water was within 24 inches of flooding our office and I don't think we realized how close that really was until we looked out into the stairwell and saw a carp swim by,' said ZL&R president Kent Zimmerman.
Five blocks away, Falcon Marketing & Communications found two feet of water in their offices, but managed to salvage computers, files and some furniture.
'We knew we had to be up and running last Monday,' said Steve Moon, Falcon president. 'Gracious clients or not, after one week of being out of commission, we knew we had to get back to business.'
The biggest problem for most agencies was finding enough space for employees to gather. ZL&R split staffers between four homes, set up an answering service to field calls and created an ad hoc cellular phone network between its four temporary offices, according to Zimmerman. The agency saw its workload increase as its largest local client, The Central Resource Group, a network of financial services, rushed to get word out about how it could help flood victims. At the same time, the agency finished work on a major grand opening campaign for a Mississippi casino scheduled for this week.
Falcon executives quickly moved computers into staffers homes were work continued until the company relocated to office space in West Des Moines, which missed much of the severe flooding, last Monday.
'We didn't miss any deadlines,' commented Moon. 'Things could have been a lot worse.'
Water service was scheduled to resume over the weekend, and all agencies are making plans to move back into their offices as soon as possible.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)