Monday, November 5, 2001

Intel and Altoids are the latest companies to lend their brand to the American Advertising Federation’s on-going “Great Brands” campaign.

Since October 2000, companies like Coca-Cola, Sunkist, Energizer and Anheuser Busch have allowed their well-known brand names to be modified to read “Advertising,” to show the connection between advertising and building a great brand. Essentially, the campaign is advertising the importance of advertising.

“The mission is to reinforce to corporate America that advertising really helps business and helps establish brand identity,” says Mary Hilton, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based AAF, which represents the advertising industry.

For instance, in an ad with the standard Coca-Cola bottle the word “advertising” has replaced the Coke brand name. The ad reads: “The secret formula revealed.” The latest Intel ad, which began running last week, reads: “It’s what makes computers more powerful.” The ad featuring Altoids will start running later this month.

The overall campaign, which will be seen through December 2003, is aimed at chief executives and operating officers those who are responsible for establishing and maintaining advertising budgets for their companies.

The full-page ads, created by Carmichael Lynch Inc. in Minneapolis, have run in national newspapers like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as well as magazines like Fortune, Advertising Age and Adweek. All the media space is donated so the ads run when the publications have room. More than $4 million worth of ad space has been donated so far, Ms. Hilton says.

The “Great Brands” campaign is even more relevant now than ever before, Ms. Hilton says.

In times of economic slowdown, advertising and marketing budgets are one of the first things to be trimmed or eliminated as a cost-cutting measure.

“In good times and in bad, advertising still needs to be invested in as part of a successful business model,” Ms. Hilton says.

The AAF hopes to add more companies with well-known brand names to the campaign.

Painting patriotism

Last week, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), in conjunction with the Finishing Contractors Association, painted television sets in more than 60 cities with three new commercials touting the American spirit.

The union, which represents more than 140,000 members from painters and drywall finishers to glass workers and carpet installers, spent $2 million on the weeklong campaign to inform and assure Americans that IUPAT is committed to rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure in New York and anywhere else it’s needed.

The three, 30-second spots were created by the Kamber Group in the District.

Local ad club angry

The Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington is miffed over the Washington Convention and Tourism Corp.’s decision to hire Baltimore-based Eisner Communications to handle the city’s new “Be Inspired” advertising campaign rather than turning to a Washington-based agency.

“It is ironic that your decision you, the chief booster of the nation’s capital will take away jobs and paychecks that will go to Baltimore vendors and suppliers instead of to local businesses,” says Ronald C. Owens, president of the Ad Club, in a letter to WCTC President William A. Hanbury.

Eisner, which has an office in the District, was one of 30 agencies that submitted proposals and was chosen from a list of nine finalists to handle the advertising account worth at least $2.5 million.

“This seems to be sour grapes,” Mr. Hanbury says in a statement. “We were extremely thorough and inclusive in our agency review process. … Eisner won the account hands down.”

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

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