Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Adventures In Advertising: The Best Out Of Town Client Visit

Years ago I was a partner at an ad agency.  I had two partners; we were all great friends.  Ironically, and by sheer coincidence, we had two clients in Texas.  Alcon Labs in Ft. Worth and Houston City Magazine in Houston.

My client from Alcon called me and asked if I would come down for a meeting. The call came on a Monday and I was asked if I would come to Ft. Worth on Thursday night for a Friday meeting and my client and I made a dinner date for Thursday evening in Dallas at the revolving restaurant on top of the Hyatt.  Dinner was scheduled around my flight and was to be at about 7:15.  The reservation was in the client’s name.

So a little before the scheduled time I went up to the restaurant.  They seated me immediately.  At 7:15, no client.  At 7:30 no client.  By 7:45, no client and I was concerned.  But it was before cell phones.  I called the client’s office and got his voicemail.  I called through the switchboard and they could not reach him.  I had absolutely no idea what to do since I didn’t have his home number and, frankly, didn’t even know where he lived. He had a common name and I looked in several available phone books (remember them?), but there was no one with his first name.  I didn't quite know what to do, so I decided to go back to my table, ordered a drink and waited.

At 8pm I looked up and, to my great surprise, there was my client from Houston.  Paula was the ad manager of Houston Magazine and, frankly, a date for me when I was down there (I was single).

I asked her what she was doing there.  She burst out laughing.  It had all been a set up by my partners and was a wonderful practical joke.  The purpose of which was to give me some rest and to have a great weekend in Dallas.  The Alcon client was in on it.

When I called him Friday morning to see if we actually had a meeting, he laughed and asked me how my dinner was.  Of course, he told me that if I wanted to see him, I could.  I laughed and politely declined.  I changed my flights and Paula and I had a wonderful three day weekend.

I did break one of my cardinal rule by dating a client, but she was in Texas  and I was in New York, so I rationalized it as a once in a while thing.. I called my partners and thanked them. We all laughed,  I ended up having a great weekend.

It was one of the best business practical jokes, ever.

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