- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2004

The Dan Rosenthal Co. has been busy in recent weeks acquiring a neighboring advertising agency and starting an independent branding division. It is the first time the Bethesda agency has made such moves since its founding in 1990.

The Dan Rosenthal Co. (DRC) acquired Bethesda agency EMM Creative earlier this month, bringing Art Ehrens, former head of EMM, and broadcast and production capabilities to the full-service agency. The sale price was not disclosed.

Mr. Ehrens wanted to join DRC — with which he worked in the past — because he didn’t want to add more staff to his agency to keep up with the rebounding industry.

“Instead of hiring additional staff, we decided to join forces with the Dan Rosenthal Co. and the agency’s expanding momentum,” said Mr. Ehrens, who brought one other employee to DRC. “This place is on fire. We represent a powerful creative force.”

EMM had five employees — two found other jobs and one moved out of state — before the acquisition.

DRC, which has between $25 million and $30 million in billings and about 25 employees, has added EMM clients such as Next Day Blinds and Mervis Diamonds to its roster, which already includes Long & Foster Real Estate, Tysons Corner Center and Arlington investment bank Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc.

“It’s not our plan to grow by acquisition,” said Dan Rosenthal, president and creative director. “[EMM] was the right place at the right time.”

Mr. Rosenthal projects his agency will reach $75 million in billings by the end of 2006 and will add at least 35 employees in that period.

DRC also has started a branding division called Spire.

Spire President Stephanie Fouch, formerly the executive director of strategic planning at DRC, said she has seen an increasing demand from clients who need help figuring out their brands.

“An organization’s brand, and the internal and external expression of that brand, is fundamental to its success,” Ms. Fouch said.

The division, which operates separately from DRC, also will have help from Ann Rote, former vice president of marketing at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is owned by Feld Entertainment Inc. Ms. Rote will serve as managing director.

BET to educate

BET wants to educate advertisers about black consumers.

The D.C. cable network has partnered with research specialists NSightsWorldwide and TNS/NFO WorldGroup to learn more about blacks’ buying habits.

“A growing number of marketers and advertisers, perhaps led by their agencies, believe placing ads on black sitcoms on broadcast television is all they need to do to influence African-American consumers to buy their products and services,” said Louis Carr, BET president of broadcast media sales. “Clearly these are not the strategies and tactics utilized against the general market, nor are they the methods used to target specific niche groups like women, men and Hispanics.”

The study will involve about 2,500 blacks ages 12 to 49. The research will be conducted online for two to four weeks, Mr. Carr said. Then the research groups will analyze a range of factors that influence blacks’ buying habits, including community, socioeconomic status and educational background.

Wrestle mania

World Wrestling Entertainment has teamed up with Momentum Marketing to promote the group’s ultimate event, WrestleMania XX next month. As a result, the Alexandria marketing and promotions firm created a 46-stop tour across the country to hype the event.

The WrestleMania promotional team, which includes WWE’s Hillbilly Jim, is touring in a custom-designed and branded Chevrolet Suburban complete with a 12-foot trailer and 42-inch flat-screen television.

Each stop includes a meet-and-greet with fans, video game competitions and WrestleMania trivia contests.

The tour started last month in Los Angeles and ends in New York on March 14 at WrestleMania XX at Madison Square Garden.

The team will stop Saturday and Sunday at Wal-Mart stores in Fairfax and Alexandria.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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