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Debonair debs fete shop's 50th

The board of Kerker Marketing Communications doesn't don dresses every day -- just about every 50 years. The independent Minneapolis agency celebrates its coming of age -- specifically, age 50 -- June 8 with a "Kerker cotillion." The invitation features the board members, garbed in gowns, with the lines "You are cordially invited to a debutante ball. Hey, it takes guts to come out at 50." As Exec VP-CD Chris Preston explains: "If you take yourself too seriously with a debutante ball, people will roll their eyes. . . . We're telling clients that the greatest risk is not being noticed." Notice Preston, resplendent in his finery, at the far left; heading right from there are fellow board members Chuck Wanous, CEO; Laurin Leih, exec VP-media director; Phil Wendorf, exec VP-chief financial officer and director of market research; and Chuck Kelly, president (holding the cigar). Kerker's client list is about 60% consumer, including project work for Target, and 40% b-to-b. And 50 is kind of its lucky number these days -- 50 years old, about 50 staffers and $50 million in billings.

Take the `puffing' out of ad prizes

Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, would like to see award shows move into a museum model where the best advertising would be presented by theme, such as the top 50 commercials for emerging companies. "I don't want to do away with publicizing great work," Goodby says, but such a new format "could be more like a show at the [Metropolitan Museum of Art] and less chest puffing about statues." The traditional shows, meanwhile, are putting a burden on Gen X creatives seeking to maintain their cool while accepting acclaim. At this spring's Belding Awards in Los Angeles, some walked up to the stage with beer cans in hand. At the San Francisco Show, one accepted a top award while hugging a bottle of Jack Daniel's. Others in SF were more gracious, with agency youth praising others' work while being celebrated for their own. For example, TBWA/Chiat/Day's winners, in their acceptance speech for the campaign, acknowledged Leagas Delaney's creative for CNET.

Jolly Roger meets Fallon's Tom

Back in Minneapolis, Fallon creative Tom Lichtenheld has given a little plug to client BMW in his new children's book, "Everything I Know About Pirates." A green Beamer is parked in the cargo hold of a pirate ship in the book. Lichtenheld also honors former Fallon co-worker Mark Johnson, who jumped ship to join then-Ammirati Puris Lintas. A drawing of a golden-locked pirate is based on Johnson's image. Though an art director by agency trade, Lichtenheld illustrated AND wrote the book, "a collection of made-up facts, educated guesses and silly pictures about bad guys of the high seas," created for 4-to-8-year-old readers.

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