Recently I was at the bar in Perfetto’s with an old friend, Dave Buck, talking about “back when.” Conversation got around to a highpoint in Crowley Webb history when the agency won a major contact-lens account, taking it away from San Francisco based Foote, Cone & Belding. It was a big deal for CWA, and the city, that a small regional shop beat out a global powerhouse like FCB for a major national account. We were all pretty proud of ourselves and we should have been.
A short time after winning the account, UPS showed up at the old office on Franklin Street with a pallet full of the client’s and the old agency’s mar com materials—brochures, artwork, logo art, stylebooks, account notes, photography, etc. We weren’t up to speed on computers back then, so it was really a lot. Every piece was catalogued and indexed so we could tell what was what and why it was there. It was from the old agency, and it was all the stuff that they had been using to handle the account.
FCB could just as well have dumped everything upside down into a big box and just shipped it. It must have taken them days of unbilled time to have organized and put everything together so neatly. The point is that Dave, others in our small shop, and I in our formative years had the opportunity to see how a great agency handles the loss of a client. A great lesson.
Fast forward: This past week I’d been asked by an old client, seeking an agency in San Francisco as it turns out, if I’d ever heard of Foote Cone & Belding. Twenty-five years later I got a chance to return the favor.