Our Columnist Beats the Bushes to Find Out What TBWA Paid Julia Butterfly Hill

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Julia Butterfly Hill lived in the branches of a giant California redwood for two years to keep the Pacific Lumber Company from making it into planking, and when she climbed back down to earth, she discovered that ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day had used her likeness in an ad campaign without her permission. She sued, and last week, reached a settlement. The agency refused to admit any guilt. However, Adages has learned that the shop agreed to shell out a significant cash donation to a worthy cause and produce a prominent print ad campaign for a foundation of Ms. Butterfly's choosing. Julia's lawyer, Neil Popovic of Heller Herman White McAuliffe, San Francisco, and a spokesman for Chiat/Day in New York both refused to comment on the case. The offending ad, a two page spread created for the wireless company OmniSky (now defunct), pictures a woman camped out in a redwood using an OmniSky wireless to order a sponge bath from a fictional dot-com delivery service. The ad appeared in national magazines like Newsweek, Martha Stewart Living and Backpacker magazine, and according to Julia, who spoke to Adages last week from a cellphone as she rode a city bus in San Francisco (she doesn't own a car), the ad sullied her reputation. "I have never agreed to endorse or sell products even though I've been asked many times," she said. "I've always said no. And so when they created this image, it attacked what I had to fight so hard to maintain. There are millions of people who saw that ad and think that I sold out." She was also offended by the sponge bath, which suggested "she needs an anonymous guy to come up and give her a bath, which has sexual connotations that are degrading," said a close associate of Julia who requested anonymity.

Now wait a minute, wasn't Chiat/Day just having a little fun? Doesn't Julia have a sense of humor? "I have a great sense of humor," said Julia, with a little laugh. "I lived in a tree by myself for two years. I really learned to laugh at myself." Does she miss the tree? "When I was in the tree, everyone asked me if I missed the ground. Now that I'm on the ground, they ask me if I miss the tree." Julia said she doesn't plan to climb another tree anytime soon, at the moment she's very busy doing speaking engagements around the world. But she pointed out there are 13 different "tree-sits" going on in California right now. Just a few weeks ago, one young tree-squatter, Robert Bryan, fell out of a redwood near Santa Cruz and was killed. "People are willing to risk their lives for this and that's not a laughing matter," she said.

Let them eat Devils' food cake

The slapshot season has just begun and already the local team New Yorkers love to hate, the Jersey Devils, are on a winning streak, not just on the ice but on the air. The team's ad agency, BBDO, New York, created a local broadcast campaign for the Devils with witty slapstick scenarios involving obsessive fans in various suburban Garden State locales, such as Paramus, Edison, Freehold and Morristown. Absent from the campaign, however, is a scene in Newark, where the team's new stadium will be built. An extremely poor city, predominantly African-American, with no ice rinks , Newark does not have much of a hockey history. And yet it will contribute $200 million out of its own budget for the $355 million arena, which the Devils will share with the Nets. According to reports in Newark's The Star Ledger, YankeeNets, the Devil's owners, "will control almost every dollar spent by sports fans who come to see the Nets and Devils when the building opens in 2005 or 2006." Oh yeah, and the Devils new campaign slogan is "Live it. Eat it. Breathe it." Eat it? A Devils executive would not comment.

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