This week marks Peppercomm’s 18th anniversary, and the beginning of our 19th year in business. So, without further ado, here’s my list of the 19 most memorable moments in agency history (good, bad and otherwise):
1.) I win my very first battle with Ed, and the firm is named after my black lab, Pepper. The name immediately separates us from our mostly eponymous competitors and strikes a chord with canine-loving prospects everywhere.
2.) Gary Sullivan of business insurance giant, Alexander & Alexander, says he has a “good feeling” about Ed and me, and becomes our first “blue chip” client.
3.) Steelcase hires us to introduce the Leap office chair. Some 15 years later we remain their agency of record.
4.) Julie Farin and Larry Thomas retain us to represent Money Talks, a personal finance site. We win our first Silver Anvil, the Oscar of public relations.
5.) Valerie Di Maria rolls the dice, and hires Peppercomm as GE Capital’s agency of record. That, in turn, leads to an introduction to GE Corporate and our subsequent launching of the multinational’s ‘Imagination at work’ campaign.
6.) In the dotcom era’s waning days, we create PartnershipCentral, an online destination that, at its peak, had 26 full-time staffers. P’Central closes when the bubble bursts. It was a bad day at black rock, to say the least.
7.) A Drew University intern is fired in her first week of work when, after I ask the status of a research assignment, she responds by saying, ‘Sorry, dude. I guess I just flaked.’
8.) A Northeastern University intern barely keeps her job despite twice flipping Ed the bird at a holiday party.
9.) In 2006, Peppercomm hits the trifecta as two industry trade publications name us agency of the year, and a third names us most innovative.
10.) In that very same year, Peppercomm hits its biggest speed bump ever when two Fortune 500 clients promise us multi-million dollar budgets. We staff up accordingly, and then neither guy so much as spends a dime with us.
11.) We’re hired on the spot by Whirlpool’s Audrey Reed-Granger as we wrap-up our new business presentation on a Friday afternoon in Benton Harbor, Michigan. We’d have the privilege of serving WP for the next seven years.
12.) We make perhaps the worst new business pitch in agency history when, in the midst of presenting to a company called BraunAbility, we somehow manage to show slides of their direct competitor’s product. That one still hurts.
13.) We create the Uncorporate Challenge Race, Peppercomm’s answer to the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge (and yet another example of our belief in taking the road less traveled).
14.) We begin incorporating stand-up comedy training as part of the agency’s management development. MSNBC subsequently airs an eight-minute segment that attracts clients et voila, a new service offering is born.
15.) We fire a foul-mouthed, high profile CEO for his abusive ways. He responds to me with an e-mail, declaring: “This is complete and utter bullshit.” The phrase becomes legendary in Peppercomm vernacular (right alongside ‘I found your presentation both glib and superficial.’).
16.) We create Brand Squared (licensing), acquire H20 (a creative digital shop) and invest in Flagship (a London-based consultancy). The firm evolves from providing traditional PR to a more holistic mix of strategic integrated communications.
17.) Crain’s New York Business names Peppercomm New York’s top workplace. We beat 930 other organizations, including Microsoft and New York Life, to earn what remains our most prized award.
18.) MINI Cooper names Peppercomm AOR and the firm enters the highly coveted (and uber competitive) automotive category.
19.) To be announced later this week.