To raise awareness for its May "adventure" issue, the sales team had clients vote in a "Dare Your Rep" contest. "Swimming with sharks" was the winning dare. It certainly sounds more adventurous than the other choices: climbing the steps of the Empire State Building, fire walking, pro-wrestling school and winter surfing in Montauk. OK, so fire walking sounds a bit scary, but come on. Pro wrestling? Walking stairs? Perhaps naked winter snorkeling in Montauk—that I would have paid to see.
So it was into the tank with 15 members of the staff, including Schenck and Associate Publisher Jeremy Levine. And for good luck, they brought along a client—Julie DeMaio, VP-associate media director for Bacardi at Universal McCann. Their swimming mates at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J., were sand bar, nurse and sand tiger sharks (although what might have been more frightening was having to peel a wetsuit off your pasty body in front of colleagues in the middle of winter).
According to Account Director Matt Bondlow, "From the moment we all settled in, we were completely aware of everything: their size, their teeth and—most of all—their curiosity." For the record, a friend of mine was once attacked by a shark. It wasn't curiosity that took a chunk out of his leg!
The entire ordeal has me picturing Schenck sitting in a hidden lair somewhere, stroking a white cat and thinking up the next evil scheme to foist on his sales team.