An Insiders Look at the Downfall of Dallas Based Berry-Brown Advertising

Mack Simpson, a Texas Ad Monkey as he likes to call himself, used to work for a Dallas based ad agency called Berry-Brown. Berry-Brown, you might recall closed near the end of 2000 after it's eccentric CFO killed himself and killed the agency by embezzling $6.5 million.

Mack was there when it all happened and tells us the inside story in three parts on his weblog. You can read it here. Another lesson in human nature that illustrates you never really know a person until it is, perhaps, too late.
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by Steve Hall    May- 2-03    




San Francisco Ad Campaign Portrays Homeless as Druggies and Hurtful to Business

"Today we rode a cable car, visited Alcatraz and supported a drug habit"
"Today I adopted a cat, gave some change and shut down my corner grocer"

Those are the headlines of a new ad campaign for the Hotel Council of San Francisco. The campaign is designed to fight panhandling which has a long history in the city. The Council says the problem is growing and is tarnishing the city's image as a world-class travel destination. They hope they campaign can convince the general public that giving to panhandlers is hurtful to the city's image.

"I think that's really cold. I know a whole bunch of people who aren't on drugs or alcohol," said Carol Oyama, 60. "People give me $20s, $5s, $10s and they give it to me because they want to, not because they have to."

Mayor Wille Brown doesn't like the campaign either and said through his spokesman, "Negative publicity is just a poor way to drum up business, and this seems to be falling on one's own sword."

Hoteliers have a different opinion.

"It's been a major complaint of groups coming in, saying, 'Why don't you do something about this?"' said Robert Begley, the council's director. "When we're on sales trips, the first question we normally get today is, 'What has happened to San Francisco?"'

So what's the solution? Kick the homeless out? Make giving to the homeless illegal? Nobody really has the answer but to deploy an ad campaign that portrays all homeless people as being alcoholics or drug addicts or a general nuisance really isn't a very neighborly solution.

UPDATE: Read The Homeless Guy's take on this in the Comments section below.
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by Steve Hall    May- 2-03    




Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera Pointless Post of the Day

Alright, it's been a while since I've made pointless use of Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera to spike visits to Adrants but serious news (as if I ever covered that here in the first place) is light today. What is so newsworthy about Britney and Christina that they should find their way to Adrants today? Absolutely nothing. Except that, oh, they have changed their hair color. Why does this matter? Does anyone care? Not really but then again, this is a pointless post.

So both Britney and Christina have gone from blond to, heaven forbid, brunette! Is there such a thing as a brunette bimbo? Oh sorry, that was mean.

And the importance of this news to the world of advertising? Hmm...Well...Umm... Oh, I go it. All those art directors and stylists out there really need to know this because they simply can't plan the next photo shoot or ad campaign without knowing these important details. After all, Christina will soon be featured in a new campaign for Versace. And Britney? Well, I'm sure some advertiser will be calling her again as soon as she is finished dwelling in the tabloid world and gets back to doing what she does best, pretending to sing and making men across the world wish they were sitting next to her here.

And thanks to ApeChild for giving me the excuse to do this.

Hey, it's Friday.
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by Steve Hall    May- 2-03    




New Editors for Stuff and Maxim

Greg Gutfield, editor of Stuff Magazine, is stepping sideways to make room for Mike Hammer, current executive editor of Maxim, to step into the role. Gutfield's sideways move is into the newly created role of director of brand development. Gutfield has exhibited some behavior that was looked upon by his Dennis Publishing executives as somewhat less than professional. Read Gawker's snarky take on the move.
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by Steve Hall    May- 2-03    




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Value of Logo Decreasing in Importance

For all you brand believers out there, there is a new study that does not bode well for the importance of a logo in supporting a brand. Brand Keys, a New York consultancy, has released a study showing the importance placed on a logo as a contributor to brand loyalty has decreased for two years in a row. Two thirds now think logos are less important then they were 2-3 years ago.

"Nearly all logos are valuable as long as consumers think they are important and are worth paying for. The problem is that logos-as-brand-differentiators have decreased in the importance they play in the actual purchase process," said Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys. "It's not the 'bunker' mentality we observed after September 11. It's a genuine return to basic, solid, unadorned American values, and it's being reflected in the way consumers are reacting to the value of a logo generally, and to particular logos specifically. The weak economy just compounds things."

And for those of you out there that always thought building a brand was just a bunch of puffery used to get client to spend a lot of money, you now have a piece of research to back that up.
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by Steve Hall    May- 2-03    




Mullen Loses Nextel Account

This is bad news. Mullen, who has had the Nextel account for seven years, has lost the account. The account has been in review for months with incumbent Mullen in the difficult position of trying to retain a client who has decided to have a review. Incumbents rarely win. Sad news personally too as Mullen is geographically very close to me and I know several people who work there.

The account represents about 15% of Mullen's billing and that is sure to have an effect on head count, a situation Mullen has been mostly lucky to avoid in these perilous economic times. Joe Grimaldi, Mullen's Chief Executive, hopes that over the next few months as the account transitions to a new shop, there will be some account wins to offset the loss of Nextel.

If it's any constellation to the New England region, Boston's Arnold is still in the running for the account. I'll keep my fingers crossed for them.

I wish Mullen all the best. Boston Globe article here.
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by Steve Hall    May- 2-03    










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