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Tired of status quo in ad industry, exec says, 'Supersize me'

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DIRECT MARKETING AGENCY EXECUTIVE ROBERT ROSENTHAL, founder of Mothers of Invention, a direct marketing agency in Maynard, Mass., has unleashed a mother of a rant. Rosenthal announced last week that he is going on a "reverse hunger strike" that he said will call attention to "serious problems that exist in the advertising industry." A devout exerciser and healthy eater, Rosenthal said he would eat "the worst possible food imaginable" to point out the lack of respect, lack of understanding and lack of loyalty among clients. In a roaming diatribe on a video at his site, Rosenthal complains about dot-com craziness, unreturned phone calls, clients that take advantage of agencies, chocolate cake for breakfast and the process of soliciting spec creative. More on the strike, including a letter from the executive's doctor appealing to him to quit the strike, can be found at reversehungerstrike.com. "It really ought to be called free creative," Rosenthal says in the video, calling the soliciting of creative on spec a game by clients to get free ideas from the agency community. He likened the process to asking a heart surgeon for an angiogram at no charge and then deciding whether to have heart bypass surgery and with which surgeon. Rosenthal has vowed to post to his daily blog, "Freaking Marketing" (www.freakingmarketing.com), updates on the gorgefest. Fried dough, anyone?-Carol Krol

MARKETERS HEADED TO THE WEST COAST-or already based there-might want to check out the nearby "Opt In to Advertising's New Age," a traveling exhibit that focuses on the history and future of advertising. The exhibit, which was created by the Online Publishers Association and runs at the Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles from Feb. 15 to May 14, is shaping up to be great fun for marketers who want to see ad campaigns that move the needle. The selection of almost 200 seminal ads from the 18th century to today will include early radio commercials, classic TV commercials such as "Mikey Likes It" for Life cereal and current interactive online ads from, among others, Audi USA, Hewlett-Packard Co. and the U.S. Army. The exhibited advertisements are drawn mostly from the archives of The One Club, a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in advertising, with some radio spots from the Radio Advertising Bureau and the Radio-Mercury Awards. Visitors will view or hear the ads at four interactive stations representing each featured medium: print, radio, television and online. By simply answering a few questions about the exhibit at a computer station, visitors can benefit from the advice of a "virtual creative director" in creating and planning an ad that is uniquely tailored to them. With so much of creative being commoditized these days, perhaps the virtual creative director can offer up some fresh ideas for b-to-b campaigns. Never say never.-Matthew Schwartz

IT'S A WRAP FOR AT&T'S BRAND. As part of the company's new rebranding campaign to announce its merger with SBC, AT&T had Bumper2Bumper Media wrap more than 300 company vehicles with laminates reflecting the new corporate logo. The wrapping was done at night in secured warehouses in 22 locations, and the vehicles were unveiled the morning of Nov. 21, when SBC and AT&T announced the completion of their merger. The wrapping project took just three days. Bumper2Bumper worked with Interbrand, AT&T's branding agency, on the project. It also provided a lobby mural for AT&T's new headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, and 600 banners.-Kate Maddox

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