Re-Post from Schupp Company Blog

Lights, Camera, Phone System?
Schupp Company has always been careful with its money. Take, for example, our telephone system. We acquired our original phones pre-owned back in 1993 when the company opened. The system was expanded and upgraded through the years, but we still had “analogue” caller ID (read: the receptionist answered the phone and then called you and told you who was on the line). Spit and baling wire were giving out, and every survey of the employees indicated that the phones were a weak link in our otherwise respectable technology infrastructure.

Fast forward to September, 2009. An email arrived from a group promoting various telephone system vendors, and I was expecting to do the usual browse and toss. Buried in the middle, however, a headline caught my eye. Avaya (a major telephone system manufacturer) was promoting a contest for small businesses, 20 of which would win a complete new telephone system:

To enter, small business owners and employees are asked to write in or upload videos that answer the question,”What’s Your Disconnect?” with winners receiving an Avaya IP Office communications system, the company’s flagship IP communications solution for small and medium-sized businesses. The contest – running now until October 15, 2009 – targets small businesses with 10 to 50 employees in the United States and Canada.

Okay, I thought to myself, we’re an ad agency. If we can’t ace this thing, we’re in trouble. I sent the contest announcement to Mark Schupp.

I was not surprised that he thought we should go ahead and enter the contest. The creative team, unimpressed with my creative input, had another idea (again, no surprise). They were secretive about it, and they even videotaped the content at night. I wasn’t miffed (I’m not a writer), but when Mark Schupp and I viewed the edited video for entry, we both shook our heads. In our opinion, it didn’t address the “communications disconnect” that we had with our antiquated phone system per the entry request. After looking at the other somewhat dry submissions, we decided to take a chance and enter the video anyway. Mark was taking odds that nothing would come of it and I was doubtful as well. My hope was that the “unique” character of the entry would make it stand out.

We entered and we waited. A couple weeks went by and some of the winners were announced. I wrote it off. Then, November 16th, we got a call. (Drum roll.) We had actually won a new phone system! I called Mark Schupp and told him we had to eat crow.

“No problem,” he said. “I love crow.”

We won a complete new telephone system with free installation from Avaya and their local partner, STL Communications. It was all good. The new system was installed in late March of last year.

Avaya arrived in town in September, 2011, to produce a video about our new system and how it “improved our collaboration and communication with clients,” as well as to highlight the great work of their installation partner, STL Communications.

We design a lot of contests and sweepstakes for our clients. It’s nice to be on the winning end of it for a change.