A little over a year ago, our entire staff took part in a little exercise one afternoon geared toward the growth and expansion of The High Road Agency. One of the questions we were asked had to do with our goals for 2018.

One of my objectives was for our organization to be involved in a national campaign. Ambitious? Sure… but you gotta aim high, right?

About two months later, we started work on Visit Kingsport’s Long Island Iced Tea campaign. For those of you not in the know, there’s actually a Long Island in Kingsport (in the middle of the Holston River) and back in the 1920s, a colorful bootlegger who lived there came up with the Original Long Island Iced Tea recipe. Yeah, THE Long Island Iced Tea – a pretty popular drink even now, nearly 100 years later.

The plan was to capitalize on the drink originating in Kingsport and to do that, we felt a press release stating exactly that was in order. We sent it out nationwide with the hope that the folks in Long Island, N.Y., who like to think they created the drink, would bite. And bite they did.

The folks at Hudson’s on the Mile, a bar on Long Island in New York, took exception to the release and fired back with an extremely well written and entertaining letter challenging Visit Kingsport’s claim. The HRA answered with an equally hilarious response and just like that, we had a campaign that went national.

The Battle of the Long Island Iced Teas was everywhere. CNN came calling, as did the New York Times, ESPN, Newsday, USA Today, and on and on and on. The amount of coverage received last summer from the two contests – one on Long Island in New York (where the Northerners won) and the other on Kingsport’s Long Island (where the South rose to the occasion and rolled to a big win) was extraordinary. The earned media value to date has to be closing in on $2 million – which is pretty incredible.

The contest continues – Round 3, which will break the tie and determine the tastiest Long Island Iced Tea is coming this spring – as does my satisfaction for reaching such a lofty goal. A goal, if I’m completely truthful, I wasn’t entirely certain would come to fruition in 2018. I thought it could happen, sure, but making it happen a few months after the words came out of my mouth… yeah, not so confident about that.

The moral to this story? Big, crazy, hairy dreams, no matter how outlandish they might seem, actually do come true sometimes. All it takes is the aspiration, the team and a lot of hard work to make it a reality!

Not only did the Long Island Iced Tea Campaign achieve this goal, but it also won a Silver Addy for Consumer Campaign-National. View more of the campaign here: TheHighRoadAgency.com/Portfolio/Long-Island-Iced-Tea