Americans have a love-hate relationship with advertising, and so do clients to some degree with advertising agencies. While many people find some advertising irritating, some boring, almost everyone finds certain of the creative work in ads to be pleasing, humorous, and even beautiful.
In this atmosphere, it is unusual for client-agency relationships to exist for long periods of time. Accounts are acquired and lost and employees hired and fired in an endless game of musical chairs.
The first 36 years of the Idaho Potato Commission's agency relationship were a notable exception to the common practice of clients changing agencies every five years. When the original agency competition was held, firms from all over the U.S. made presentations. The winner was a combination of two agencies; Botsford, Constantine and Gardner of Portland, Oregon, and Cline Advertising Service of Boise, Idaho.
The combination provided the extensive financial and creative resources of a "big city" agency with the convenience and day-to-day service of a local office located only a few blocks from the client. In the first few years of the relationship, other Idaho agencies demanded that, since the Commission was a state agency, they should have "a chance at the account." Two agency reviews actually took place, but the Botsford-Cline group was successful in retaining the business.
Two men, Dave Botsford of the Portland office arid John Greenlee of Cline, were largely responsible for charting an efficient and effective strategy for the Idaho® potato industry. The Commission was well justified in maintaining the relationship on the basis of sales results in the market place and the rapid growth of Idaho® potato awareness in every corner of the nation. The agencies did a remarkable job of getting the maximum results from every dollar available in a budget that, even by standards of the '30s and '40s, was extremely modest for the job to be done.
The agencies implemented a complete program. It included consumer advertising using newspapers and radio, produce-trade advertising, advertising to restaurants, baked-potato flags, and menu clip-ons, point-of-purchase display material for retail stores, recipe development, and food-page publicity, direct-mail promotion to the grocery trade, and dealer servicemen in the field. As Idaho's market share increased, growers produced more potatoes and the budget grew. Idaho passed up Maine as the largest potato-producing state in the nation.