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SMALL PENINSULA AD AGENCY DELIVERS STUNNING BLOW TO LARGEST PRIVATE WATER COMPANY IN U.S.

Election night was an exciting and historic one for Public Water Now’s (PWN’s) Measure J. Their win (56%-44%) requires the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to pursue a buyout of California American Water’s (Cal Am’s) local system, which currently provides 25% of Cal Am’s total California revenue. If the buyout succeeds, that will end 50 years of its private ownership on the Peninsula.

Wellman Advertising and Design, located on the Monterey Peninsula, was hired by PWN to develop and execute the Yes on Measure J marketing campaign. WellmanAd, a newcomer to the political arena, worked with a $160,000 budget (raised from local donations) to help defeat Cal Am who is reported to have spent $3 million on their campaign.

Cal Am was financially backed by its parent company, corporate giant American Water, the largest private water provider in the nation. A significant percentage of Cal Am’s budget was spent on advertising developed by high-powered political agencies Trilogy Interactive in Berkeley, and Terris, Barnes, Walter, headquartered San Francisco.

“With the kind of money that Cal Am invested in agency fire-power, the odds weren’t remotely with us! I still can’t quite believe we did it,” says Phil Wellman, President and Director of Strategy for WellmanAd. “Big thanks goes to PWN and their grassroots team of three hundred volunteers led by George Riley, managing director. Nothing beats personal conversations with residents about the issues that concern them most. Cal Am, on the other hand, employed traditional fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

Perhaps the biggest strategic boost for WellmanAd came from Wellman’s agency partner and wife, Melodie Chrislock, who with the help of Food & Water Watch, discovered that the Monterey Peninsula had the most expensive water in the country. Alerting the community to this alarming development became their campaign’s central focus. WellmanAd never let up in their efforts to empower ratepayers to take their water back from a corporate overlord who had squandered public trust.

George Riley added, “Public Water Now had a huge victory on election night. It’s the beginning of the end of 100 years of private water on the Monterey Peninsula. Much of the credit for our historic accomplishment goes to WellmanAd’s strategic guidance.”

MST’S “FALL IN LOVE WITH JAZZ” TV SPOT WINS FIRST PLACE
AT ADWHEEL AWARDS

Monterey-Salinas Transit’s (MST) “Fall in Love with JAZZ” television spot won the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) first place AdWheel award for best public transportation television commercial nationwide competing against transit systems with more than four million to fewer than 20 million passengers per year.

The AdWheel Awards are given each year by the APTA to recognize the creative excellence of their member public transportation systems in advertising, marketing, promotion, and communication. Transit systems are judged against their peers based on the number of annual passenger trips. The prizes are evaluated based on the following parameters:  target audience, situation/challenge for creating the entry, objective/strategy of the entry and the results/impact.

The television commercial was produced and directed by Phil Wellman of Wellman Advertising and Design. Solomon Atherton of Current Wave Media was the director of  photography and editor. The spot featured actor/dancer Anthony Barnett of JE Model in San Francisco and MST’s Patrick Hilliard as the bus driver playing drums on the steering wheel.

Click here to see the spot.