Fenton Communications and client MoveOn.org announced today that the still unnamed "network" would use mainstream advertising executives to help produce advertising to help change the playing field this year.
Besides Mr. Cranin, the group named as initial members of the team Tor Myhren, chief creative officer of Grey New York; Ernest Lupinacci, a former Wieden & Kennedy and Anomaly creative who is head of Ernest Industries and a consultant for Google; Bennett McCarroll, Grey Advertising's senior VP-director of broadcast production; and Paul Christopher Hicks, until recently writer and creative director for Hasan and Partners in Helsinki (working for Nokia) and previously with McCann in San Francisco.
Fenton CEO David Fenton said more additions would be announced later. "We have felt for years that people in the commercial world would want to contribute to the environment and to electing progressive candidates. We decided to go out and put that to the test," he said.
At the moment, the team has no clear candidate to support. So it will go after presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. Mr. Fenton said the first ads to come out of the group will be aimed at McCain, "telling the truth about John McCain and his policies, some about McCain's reputation and his turnabout on bunch of positions as he panders to the right."
Unlike the members of Tuesday Team, who volunteered, members of the new team would receive nominal payments for ideas that get produced.
He said the team would work for a variety of causes, not just MoveOn.org. Fenton also handles public relations for Global Green; Friends of the Earth; Bono's One Campaign; Refugees International; and Human Rights Watch, among others.
"Right now, the idea is to help win the election and talk about issues on global warming and women's rights," he said, adding that the range of issues could be expanded upon later.
Mr. Cranin, currently a consultant, said he had always been interested in politics. "I've always been intrigued and drawn to this world because it [like advertising] depended on strategies," he said. "On the one hand I liked that political advertising is blunt and consistent, but it's also as miserable as anyone thinks it is."
He said he hoped that the would do something far more distinctive and compelling. "In this year in particular, there is no better time," he said.
While MoveOn isn't going to be the only group to use the team, MoveOn will get the first ads, which the team hopes to have ready within six weeks.
The Reagan Tuesday team, which was part of the Reagan campaign, was formed in 1984 at the suggestion of Jerry Della Femina and was directed by Sig Rogich, a Las Vegas ad agency exec who now heads Rogich Communications Group, and James Travis. Roger Ailes, then a top GOP consultant and now a top executive of Fox News, acted as media consultant.
Phil Dusenberry of BBDO, Edward N. Ney of Young & Rubicam and Kenneth Roman of Ogilvy & Mather headed an advisory committee overseeing creative. Also on the board was Tom Messner.
The Tuesday Team's ads included "Bear in the Woods," narrated by Hal Riney, and "Morning Again in America," ranked by Advertising Age as one of the 100 greatest campaigns of the century.
Bear in the Woods
Morning Again in America