Advertising Age November 19, 1990 NEWS; Pg. 12

Shops add to cinema verite

By Laura Loro

PHILADELPHIA: Hersey Hawkins has been spotted hanging around Elliot Weston's office.

No, the Philadelphia 76ers guard hasn't joined the cast of "thirtysomething." He appeared in an ad for the 76ers, prominently displayed at Drentell Ashley & Arthur, the fictional Philadelphia agency where some of the ABC-TV show's characters work.

The poster was there through an arrangement between Elkman Advertising, Bala-Cynwyd, Pa., and the show's production designer, Brandy Alexander.

Other agencies that supply storyboards, posters, mechanicals, videotapes and other materials for the set include Lewis, Gilman & Kynett; Heron & Young, Bala-Cynwyd; Chiat/Day/Mojo, Venice, Calif.; and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Ogilvy & Mather, both Los Angeles.

"I try to make the background as authentic as possible, whether it be advertising or Philadelphia," Ms. Alexander said.

The agencies get client approval before submitting work, and no client is known to have objected. The relationship with "thirtysomething" is very informal: No money exchange hands, and there are no guarantees. Still, agencies appreciate the exposure.

"It's a gratifying recognition of the ads here in Philadelphia," said Donald Tuckerman, Elkman president-ceo. "There are not too many times when something is done about advertising agencies, and very often when it is done, it's shown in New York. This shows there is an active agency business in Philadelphia."

Clients, too, say they're impressed by the added awareness. David Katz, VP-director of marketing for the 76ers, said he's received numerous phone calls from fans and businesses.

"We were proud to have [the ad] on there. I think it states that our advertising is first rate, for them to put it on the show," he said.

"The Sixers ad was a catchy piece of graphic that was appropriate for somewhere in Elliot's office," Ms. Alexander said. "That is the type of ad that Elliot would have conceived and produced. The Sixers are nationally known, so that's to our advantage."

Heron & Young, billing $ 1.6 million and employing 12, is about the size of the Michael & Elliot Agency, which folded two seasons ago. The look of that small shop was influenced by Heron & Young, said Joan Gubernick-Litman, Heron & Young VP. Heron & Young was then housed in an old building with funny angles, exposed brick and a loft.

Some agency work -- an ad for the Orthodontist and a shopping bag for the Bourse Building office and shopping complex -- has made it on camera. And Heron & Young makes a point of mentioning the relationship in new-business pitches.

"It's fun. It's nice to tell our clients. It's flattering; it's our own little 15 minutes" of fame, Ms. Gubernick-Litman said.

"Thirtysomething" asks questions and advice about local awards and publications as well as the ad business in general.

"They asked us, 'If Melissa's boyfriend joined the agency, what would he be doing?'" Ms. Gubernick-Litman said.

It's hard to say whether the exposure has had much impact on the local ad community overall.

"It's a nice reference and it's neat for the city, but I can't says that it's sent a jolt of lightening through the Philadelphia ad community. But then again, I'm not sure it would or should," said Steve Mosko, Philadelphia Advertising Club president and VP-station manager of WPHL-TV.

GRAPHIC: Picture, If DAA were a real Philadelphia ad agency, what would its employees hang on their office walls?


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