Bradley starts ad drive with Wooden at the helm

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As Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley unveiled his first broadcast advertising, aides said his use of Madison Avenue executives was a reflection of a comfort level gained while working with the Advertising Council.

Mr. Bradley, who chaired the Ad Council's advisory committee on public issues from 1996 to 1998, publicly disclosed last week that two key Ad Council leaders from that time-then President Ruth Wooden and Alex Kroll, chairman of Young & Rubicam and former Ad Council chairman-would be major players in the Bradley advertising.

Mr. Kroll is helping recruit members to the ad team, while Ms. Wooden is overseeing the group, dubbed the Crystal Team. Mr. Bradley's home town is Crystal City, Mo.

`AN EXTRAORDINARY GROUP'

Anita Dunn, an aide to Mr. Bradley during his years in the Senate and until recently a partner in Democratic ad agency Squier Knapp Dunn, Washington, which handled President Clinton's campaign, said Mr. Bradley was "comfortable" with the executives.

"He had an opportunity to tap into an extraordinary group of people," she said, adding, "Who wouldn't have wanted them involved?"

Ms. Dunn noted that while most political candidates turn to political media consultants alone, Mr. Bradley consciously wanted to run a different kind of campaign.

"We are not running a conventional Washington political campaign," she said.

Under the ad team structure, Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, will be doing advertising production and MacWilliams Cosgrove Smith Robinson, Washington, will handle media buying and some additional production. The campaign declined to be more specific but the Crystal Team is expected to create image ads with MacWilliams Cosgrove handling any needed quick-response ads.

TEAM PLAYERS

Other members of the team are Michael Becker, owner of Becker Communications, Short Hills, N.J., and an ex- Wunderman Worldwide creative; Agi Clark, former creative director at N.W. Ayer & Partners; Frank DeVito, partner at DeVito Fitterman, New York; Hanno Fuchs, a consultant; Caroline Jones, CEO of Caroline Jones Advertising, New York; Richard Kirshenbaum, a partner at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York; Kevin O'Neil, creative director, Warwick Baker O'Neil, New York; Marvin Waldman, retiring Y&R Advertising creative director; Margaret Mark, president of Margaret Mark Strategic Insights.

Will Robinson, a partner at MacWilliams Cosgrove, Washington, will coordinate the ad team, along with Ms. Wooden.

While most of the Madison Avenue executives will consult, Mr. Waldman will work day to day overseeing the campaign's creative.

Additional material will be produced by the ad team for the campaign's Web site.

Mr. Kroll's involvement with the Bradley campaign drew some accusations from the campaign of Vice President Al Gore. The New York Times reported that a Gore adviser ripped the inclusion of Mr. Kroll in the Crystal Team because Mezzina/Brown, whose principals worked at Y&R before splitting off, handles R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Camel cigarettes.

Mr. Gore's principal media executive is Carter Eskew, who last year handled the tobacco companies' successful attempt to defeat congressional tobacco legislation.

The Gore campaign did not return phone calls to talk about the subject and the Bradley campaign dismissed the criticism.

"It is typical of the attack politics they have been practicing. This campaign is about the candidates, not the advisers," Ms. Dunn said.

Sen. Bradley's first commercial, a 60-second biographical spot, features several U.S. senators talking about Sen. Bradley's role in that house of Congress and a mother talking about earlier legislation he sponsored to require insurance companies to pay for longer hospital stays for women and babies following child birth.

$200,000 IN FIRST WEEK

The spot broke Nov. 17 in New Hampshire and Nov. 18 in Iowa, and the campaign said it will spend more than $200,000 in its first week.

The Bradley campaign said it intended to use the TV advertising initially to introduce its candidate, rather than focusing on issues or responding to Vice President Gore.

"He still is not well known," Ms. Dunn said of Sen. Bradley.

While the Bradley campaign was launching its first TV, the Republican Leadership Council broke advertising in New Hampshire and Iowa warning about coming negative advertising from GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes.

"When Steve Forbes ran for president last time, I kind of liked him," says a woman in the spot from Jamestown Associates, Princeton, N.J. "But then he spent all his money tearing down his opponents. He hurt the Republican Party. . . . Now I see he just might start in again with those negative ads. Someone needs to tell Steve Forbes that if he doesn't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

ADS FRONTING FOR MR. BUSH?

Mr. Forbes complained that the council was shilling for rival George W. Bush and that the ads were a coordinated attack with a message that violated campaign laws.

Mr. Forbes got some unexpected support from Democrats and from GOP rival Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), who agreed that the ad violates elections laws.

Mr. Forbes had been expected to begin some comparison advertising targeting Gov. Bush, but so far hasn't done so.

Sen. McCain, who has started airing a biographical TV spot, added South Carolina to his media schedule.

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