Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

May 2010 Archives

Is Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago about to lose one of its big pharmaceutical accounts? A source familiar with the situation said the Rozerem account may be about to exit the agency. Rozerem is a drug similar to Ambien that is used to treat insomnia.

A C-K spokeswoman said she had no indication the Rozerem business was about to leave the shop, but she did indicate the account has been dormant at the agency for the past two years -- meaning no new advertising for the brand has been done during that time.

Cramer-Krasselt has had the Rozerem business since 2005. The C-K spokeswoman said no creative teams are currently assigned exclusively to the Rozerem business. But a source said that if Rozerem were to depart the agency, there might be layoffs. A Rozerem spokeswoman said she knew of no immediate plans to move the account. But she acknowledged that the C-K account is dormant and that there are no plans at present to do any consumer-focused advertising.

Nancy Loo is joining Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9 news department as reporter and fill-in anchor, effective June 1. Loo was previously an anchor/reporter at WFLD-Channel 32, but earlier this spring, WFLD management decided not to renew Loo's contract. She was apparently a victim of the station's ongoing efforts to revamp its news department.

Aside from her skills as a TV reporter and anchor, Loo's facility with social media apparently caught the attention of WGN news director Greg Caputo: "She (Nancy Loo) hosts her own blog on Tribune's 'Chicago Now' blog site. And if you're a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower, you already know her skill in using these new media," said Caputo.

Prior to moving to Chicago in 2001, Loo was a news anchor and reporter for WABC-Channel 7 in New York. In 1993, she was part of a team of journalists who launched New York 1 News.

Co-anchor Jeff Goldblatt's tenure at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 is about to end. A station spokeswoman confirmed that Goldblatt's contract, which is up in August, will not be renewed. Goldblatt is, however, expected to continue working at the station through the end of his contract.

Goldblatt's experience in broadcast journalism prior to taking on an anchor role at WFLD in 2008 had primarily been as a TV news correspondent with the Fox News Channel, not as a news anchor. Goldblatt's lack of experience in that anchor role apparently became a liability over time, at least in the eyes of the current WFLD management team, including general manager Michael Renda and news director Carol Fowler. "He was a square peg in a round hole, and there was no chemistry between him and co-anchor Robin Robinson," said a source with the station.

WFLD is reportedly considering several candidates to replace Goldblatt. One name that has been floated is Bob Sirott, who had been expected to become co-anchor with Allison Rosati of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5's flagship 10 p.m. newscast last year. But Sirott was jettisoned in favor of Rob Stafford. Sirott also previously co-anchored WMAQ's weekend news with current WFLD contributing anchor Anna Davlantes. Sirott had nothing to say about speculation he might succeed Goldblatt at WFLD. "My plan is to enjoy the summer," said Sirott.

When Renda and Fowler bring on board a new (presumably male) co-anchor, that will leave the station with three co-anchors for its hour-long 9 p.m. newscast -- co-anchor Robinson, Davlantes and the new hire. On the surface it would appear to be an awkward anchor arrangement, but it's one, we're told, that Renda and Fowler are comfortable with.

The departure of Goldblatt is part of Renda's and Fowler's bigger plan to totally revamp their 9 p.m. news product. The intent is to end up with a newscast that includes longer, more in-depth segments that would differentiate the news program from others in the market.

WFLD has the lowest-rated late news program in the market, and Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9's hour-long late news is in next to last place in the Nielsen ratings -- having been hit by some significant ratings erosion this season. WGN insiders attribute that decline, in part, to powerhouse prime time network programming that has siphoned off some of the station's news audience.

Micheline Maynard has been named editor for the "Changing Gears: Remaking the Manufacturing Belt" Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center.

The Center is a new editorial collaboration funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to report on a major developing story-- the transformation of the Upper Midwest's industrial-based economy to a post-manufacturing one. Maynard will be based in Chicago and lead a team of three reporters and a new media producer in the production of long-form radio reports, special programs for radio and television and Web content. The Center's radio reports are expected to air on WBEZ-FM (91.5) in Chicago.

Maynard was most recently a senior business correspondent for the New York Times. She joined the Times staff in 2004, and in 2005 was named bureau chief in Detroit, where she directed the Times' coverage of the auto industry.

What's are the Stanley Cup finals if you can't have a little fun with the whole thing. That's certainly what the city's most popular sports talk outlet WSCR-AM (670) and sister station WIP-AM (610) in Philadelphia intend to do in the lead-up to the first Stanley Cup finals game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. WIP midday hosts Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow will join the Score's Dan McNeil and co-host Matt Spiegel to engage in some friendly jousting about the big event on Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

The show, which will be simulcast on both radio outlets, will originate at Murphy's Bleachers, 3653 N. Sheffield. The broadcast is free and open to the public and will be streamed live on and "It's time for two legendary radio stations to drop the gloves," said WIP's Gargano, adding "we're feeling Flyerish." Whatever that is!? As for McNeil, he said: "We look forward to welcoming our guests from Philadelphia. To make them feel at home, we've ordered fog similar to the one that blinded Randall Cunningham and the Eagles in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game in '88."

Just how sensitive, we wonder, is Ewan Paterson to the culture he's about to become part of at DDB/Chicago, where he will take over as chief creative officer on June 21? In what we're sure was intended to be an innocuous-enough Adweek online piece Monday confirming -- yet again -- that Paterson will soon be running the creative department at the troubled Chicago shop, he was quoted as saying "the agency (DDB) has a client list to die for." A mere two paragraphs prior to his quote in the Adweek item was a line noting that Paterson "succeeds Paul Tilley, who committed suicide in February, 2008." 'Nuf said.

Local radio personalities Terri Hemmert and Steve Dahl are nominees for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Hemmert is a long-time host on adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1), where she is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of music, especially the Beatles. Hemmert made Chicago radio history in 1981, when she became the city's first female morning drive personality on WXRT. The outspoken Dahl, who was taken off the air at WJMK-FM (104.3) in late 2008, is another well-known radio host. He is considered one of radio's first "shock jocks." Dahl first hit it big in radio in Detroit, before moving to Chicago in 1979.

The public will vote and select which nominees make it into the Hall of Fame. For further information or to vote visit Voting will begin June 14.

Efforts are underway to figure out exactly what kind of creative awards show the Chicago advertising community can support. Whether we continue to have a Chicago Creative Club Awards show or something else remains to be seen.

A core committee of about five people, including Two by Four's David Stevenson, Element 79's Dennis Ryan, Cramer-Krasselt's Karen Seamen and DraftFCB's Tom O'Keefe, have commissioned a study to find out if a concept for a show they have in their minds is indeed workable. Results of that study are expected in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, Stevenson said that for any awards show with a sustainable structure to be mounted in this city on an annual basis, it's important for everyone involved in producing the show -- as well as the larger ad community -- to be brutally honest about the situation here in the local ad community and about where we rate in the global ad world. And, as Stevenson intimated, we're not at or near the top right now in terms of creativity -- or in terms of the general health of the local industry. That said, it's all fine and well to do studies and try -- once again-- to figure out what kind of awards show will work best in Chicago.

But the local creative community must remember that an awards show is always going to be about handing out awards first and foremost -- no matter how much you try and make it about something else. Some people will always frown on awards shows -- that is until they are the ones being handed the awards.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago is beefing up its digital offerings at The cable sports channel has unveiled a new look for its Web site with user-friendly features, including the ability to comment on and share videos and play videos from a rotating slide show. The site also boasts a sports video library, with coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox and Bears. Comcast SportsNet Chicago's managing partner Comcast Sports Group and SB Nation also have established a content-sharing and cross-promotional partnership that will allow sports fans to access content from both outlets on each other's Web sites.

In addition, CSNC has added Joe Marino in the newly-created position of digital sales manager. Marino previously was an account manager with alternative rock WKQX-FM (101.1). Since relaunched in August, 2009, the site has experienced a 238 percent increase in visits, a 243 percent increase in page views and a 213 percent increase in unique visitors.

"Holey Moly!" is the new tagline Young & Rubicam/Chicago is introducing for Einstein Bros. Bagels, an account the agency recently picked up. The new line will be visible in online banner ads for the company and in various branding efforts at the bagel chain's Web site. So what are we to make of "Holey Moly!"? According to the agency that chose the line to encapsulate what Einstein Bros. is all about, "holey moly" is "the surprise ingredient in every Einstein Bros. creation." Put another way, "Einstein Bros. delivers surprise and invention with every experience." This isn't an elaborate effort. But how many campaigns are in these difficult economic times?

kid-soccer-thegame-1.pngJust as the 2010 World Cup is about to unfold in South Africa next month, efforts are already underway to promote a bid for the United States to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Stone Ward/Chicago has completed a 30-second spot to help the U.S. land the World Cup event, considered the ultimate in soccer by hard core fans of the game.

The new commercial includes the expected shots of soccer players in action and fans cheering on the players. The voiceover ad copy obviously aims to whip up interest in the game and in hosting the World Cup event by suggesting soccer is what can inspire, excite and unite us. The voiceover announcer then encourages viewers to sign an online petition to bring the World Cup to America.

Coincidence? The folks at Young & Rubicam/Chicago certainly say so, but coincidentally or not, the agency is about to part ways with Jim Reath, the top account executive on its big Sears account, just as Richard Gerstein, the top marketing executive at parent Sears Holdings, has exited the company to take a job with HP. Kevin Reilly, an internal candidate has been chosen to replace the departing Sears account person at Y & R, and agency management expected to have the deal finalized with Reilly by late today.

Gerstein, who had the top marketing job for the Sears brand before being promoted to the top marketing post at parent Sears Holdings, was known to be a big fan of the Y & R shop. But now, like a number of other Sears marketing execs in recent years, Gerstein is suddenly gone from the corporation.

That has left Scott Freidheim, currently executive vice-president operating and support businesses for Sears Holdings, as the parent corporation's interim marketing chief. No doubt the shift on the client side has left some within the Y & R camp more than a little worried about what's next for the Sears account. In recent years, it has almost become an axiom in the advertising industry that whenever there is a major shift in marketing execs at the client, major shifts in ad agencies almost invariably follow. Almost, but not always.

Whatever happens from this point on, nobody at the agency is willing to admit any connection between the Sears account management change and Gerstein's exit. In a worst-case scenario, a loss of the Sears account would leave Y&R with a huge, huge hole to fill in its client roster.

Nobody would say Y & R has had an easy time of it since they won the Sears account several years ago following an agency shootout with Ogilvy/Chicago after hedge fund honcho Eddie Lampert took control of Sears. Much of the Y & R work for Sears recently has focused on tools, appliances and electronics, while the retailing behemoth's clothing lines have been given relatively short shrift. But clothing lines still occupy a lot of space at Sears stores, and the expectation is that Lampert will have to start marketing these goods more aggressively or else jettison them from stores.

Dare we say it? Chicago Blackhawks-mania has gripped Chicago. The city's pro hockey team, considered a has-been operation as recently as a few years ago, now is headed for the Stanley Cup finals. The Hawks also proved to be powerhouse programming on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 Sunday afternoon. So much so that the telecast of Game Four pitting the Hawks against the San Jose Sharks had an impressive 14.3 overnight rating in the Chicago market. That was really big for a sunny Sunday afternoon in Chicago with temps near 90 degrees. But the rating for the Hawks-Sharks game telecast was even big enough to eclipse any and all prime time ratings Sunday night, including hit programs such as "Lost," which had a 9.3 rating in Chicago, and "Celebrity Apprentice," which pulled a 10.3 rating.

The 2010 Association of Independent Creative Editors Awards were presented Thursday night at a gala awards ceremony in Chicago at the Field Museum. Awards were presented for outstanding creative editorial and design work in a variety of categories judged by panels of AICE editors and designers, ad agency creatives and producers and production company producers and directors.

The winner in the Best of Chicago category was editor Craig Lewandowski of Optimus/Chicago for a Cricket Wireless spot called "City Orchestra" that he worked on from Element 79/Chicago.

Editor Jeff Ferruzzo of New York-based Outside Edit + Design won two awards for his work on Dos Equis in the comedy and national campaign categories. Editor JAson Grebski of Rooster Post Production in Toronto won won two awards -- one of them in the new/emerging/alternative media category and another in the Best of Toronto category for his work on Mini. Andrea MacArthur of Peep Show/New York also won awards in the music/sound and Best of New York categories for her work on a Pepsi spot.

A full list of winners can be found at

Advertising_Campaign_Presentation9-1.jpgThe Shedd Aquarium has opened an in-house brand communications agency, which, in turn, is about to unveil its first ad campaign, an out-of-home effort with the tagline "This Is Life!"

The in-house agency will be responsible for all brand communications for the Aquarium, including advertising, print collateral, Web site design, online marketing and social media. Shedd's new in-house unit brings together some 20 members of Shedd's existing marketing and planning and design teams. "The team is taking collaboration to a new level, ultimately leading to a stronger comprehensive strategic and creative direction for all brand communications," said Meghan Curran, senior director of marketing for the Shedd.

The new ad campaign is designed to convey the wondrous world inside the Shedd, with a special emphasis on family life imagery that will appeal to moms. "Inspired by the recent birth of our beluga calf, this campaign connects people to the Shedd Aquarium in a positive and personal way," explained Liz Nelson, director of graphic design for the Shedd.

The campaign visuals include some of the most charismatic Shedd residents, including dolphins, beluga whales and colorful fish species. The ads will be seen on billboards, street banners, trolley wraps and bus dominations, as well as online, in magazines and on television.

Abramson_Fendrich_Parks.jpgThe Whitehouse film editing company has launched a new Chicago-based production arm called Cap Gun. It will be headed by executive producer Matt Abramson, director Alex Fendrich and production manager Kaitlyn Parks. The collective will handle all types and sizes of productions, including direction of traditional commercials and the creation of original content (from conception to delivery of finished product). The first work out of the collective is a project for Craftsman tools called "Music Experiment" from Young & Rubicam/Chicago. Cap Gun is also working on an interactive project for Norton coming from Leo Burnett/Chicago.

Matt Abramson started his career at Element 79/Chicago and moved to DDB/Chicago. In 2008, he helped launch One at Optimus and served as the company's content producer. Fendrich performed with famed improv troupe Second City and directed spots for clients such as Western Union and Cricket Wireless. Parks also helped launch One at Optimus/Chicago.

Why aren't we surprised? McDonald's CEO James Skinner -- in no uncertain terms -- told investors at the annual shareholders meeting today that the burger behemoth's famous icon Ronald McDonald has no intention of "retiring" from the company.

This comes in the wake of a search posse's attempts on Wednesday to track down Ronald in Chicago, put him in a van and take him off to retirement. The posse, comprised of clowns, civilians and other retired mascots such as Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, was the brainchild of a Boston not-for-profit called Corporate Accountability International. Skinner, addressing shareholders who took issue with the chain's use of Ronald, reportedly called the mascot a "force for good." Which doesn't jive at all with CAI's view. The CAI organization maintains Ronald is an important part of McDonald's effort to manipulate kids into eating unhealthy foods.

McDonald's longtime mascot Ronald McDonald is a wanted man. A man a Boston-based not-for-profit organization known as Corporate Accountability International wants to force into retirement. Toward that end, a search party comprised of 20 people, including clowns and retired corporate mascots Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, has been roaming Chicago today to seek out Ronald and hustle him into a van waiting to ferry him into retirement.

Why is this organization so intent on retiring Ronald? Well, they maintain Ronald McDonald is a very visible part of McDonald's "predatory" marketing to children -- which they suggest is a major contributing factor to the current epidemic of childhood obesity. The Corporate Accountability folks also maintain they aren't alone in calling for Ronald's retirement. A recent poll by Lake Research Partners found that close of half of the American public is ready for Ronald's retirement.

But we wouldn't hold our breath. McDonald's has invested way too much time and money into maintaining Ronald's iconic status at the burger behemoth to cave to some groups that believe he contributes to childhood obesity.

Still, the search posse is marching around Chicago to try and find Ronald on the eve of McDonald's annual shareholders meeting in Oakbrook on Thursday. The march was scheduled to move from Millennium Park up Michigan Avenue to Leo Burnett, one of McDonald's roster agencies and then on to Pioneer Plaza and the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's eatery in River North.

John Colasanti has joined VSA Partners Inc. as chief operating officer. He was previously CEO and managing partner of Carmichael Lynch/Minneapolis. He is credited with helping steer Carmichael Lynch from a regional, print-focused shop to a nationally-recognized, multi-disciplined agency serving clients ranging from Subaru to Northwest Airlines.

At VSA, Colasanti will help expand the branding firm's consumer-facing capability. "With John on board, we're formalizing our advertising offering," said VSA partner and CEO Dana Arnett. Colasanti believes VSA's capabilities are in step with the new marketing landscape: "People look beyond mere products when making decision; they care about how a company conducts itself."

VSA Partners famously designed the exquisite torch logo that was for a brief while the symbol for Chicago's failed Olympic bid. But the logo was found to violate International Olympic Committee rules and was replaced with a much less impressive star logo,also designed by VSA, which has offices in Chicago, Minneapolis and New York.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago has done many things right, but what it has done the best is make itself the must-turn-to cable channel for sports programming in Chicago. And CSNC is getting the ratings to prove it has become a powerhouse cable channel option in the local market.

During the past six weeks from April 1 through May 16, for instance, on every night when it carried a live pro game, CSNC was the highest-rated cable outlet in the Chicago market, besting all other cable channels in both household ratings and in the key 25 to 54 adult demo.

And among all TV outlets -- cable and otherwise -- CSNC was first among men 18 to 34 and men 18 to 49. So the channel is clearly connecting with its core target demos. Certainly the strong ratings performance by the Chicago Blackhawks helped Comcast boost its performance during the past six weeks.

But CSNC president James Corno believes the cable channel's good ratings are proof of the city's strong connection to sports. "The past six weeks have demonstrated the incredible passion of Chicago sports fans and the depth of of our local sports coverage," said Corno.

WLS-Channel 7 will present the latest program in its Emmy Award-winning "Asian Influences" series on Saturday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m., with an encore performance on Sunday, May 23 at 4:30 p.m. The newest edition, "Asian Influences: Influencing Change," explores the perception that all Asian Americans are well-educated and financially stable. There will also be a discussion about the impact of this perception as it relates to the 2010 Census and current redistricting legislation.

Bernie Wong, president of the Chinese American Service League; Rebecca Yemin Shi, with the Coalition for a Better Chinese American, and Sik Son, executive director of the Korean American Resource Center are among those who will provide their insights on how they plan to chart a new course for the Asian community in Chicago. "Influencing Change" also will highlight the work of the Zhou Brothers, who have an art gallery in Bridgeport.

The Chicago Blackhawks have been smart about trying to embrace all demographics as they seek to make themselves the city's most-beloved (and well-attended) professional sports franchise. Which means the Hawks certainly haven't forgotten the kiddies in their quest to be idolized by one and all.

Witness the "Blackhawks TV for Kids" program set to air Saturday, May 15, at 1 p.m. on WMAQ-Channel 5. The first-ever programming of its kind, the show's content has been created especially to appeal to a younger demo.

Among other things, the show will include a segment about Blackhawks players and their dogs. Yes, these hard-charging hockey players do have their pooches too: Troy Brouwer has his Ari; Dustin Byfuglien has his Walter, and, best of all, Patrick Sharp has a dog named Shooter (!!).

Another segment will pit Hawks against each other in several mini-Olympics-style competitions: Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg will go against Patrick Kane and Adam Burish in speed skating. Jonathan Toews and Andrew Ladd will be pitted against Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien in a popsicle eating contest.

And last but maybe not least, team mascot Tommy Hawk will be seen in a featurette where he gets to demonstrate some of his trademark antics.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago ended its season of Chicago Blackhawks game telecasts Tuesday with the Blackhawks' second-round-clinching victory over the Vancouver Canucks. It was not a record-breaking telecast in terms of ratings, even though the game's outcome no doubt thrilled plenty of Blackhawks fans. The game telecast was, however, the second-highest-rated Blackhawks game telecast in Comcast SportsNet history -- notching a 9.93 rating, just slightly behind the all-time 10.14 ratings record set during game three against the Canucks on May 5.

Though no more Blackhawks games will be seen on the cable sports channel this season, CSNC president James Corno promised viewers extended post-game coverage following every Blackhawks game going forward. Plenty of fans no doubt hope the team will go forward all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.

WLS-AM isn't making an official announcement, but it has brought on board chatty Bruce Wolf to co-host with Dan Proft two hours of airtime from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Wolf, who apparently has never bumped into a topic or a breaking news story about which he didn't have an opinion, is the latest talent to be brought into the fold at Citadel Broadcasting's news/talk outlet, as management is undertaking what has turned into a massive overhaul of the station.

WLS-AM general manager Michael Damsky said the hiring of Wolf is but one of several changes the station will make in its weekend programming line-up. WLS also has made numerous adjustments in its weekday line-up, most notably the addition of Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper to the afternoon drive show hosted by Roe Conn, and the insertion of Cisco Cotto into the mid-morning slot previously occupied by Mancow Muller and Pat Cassidy.

ESW Partners/Chicago believes it can do casino advertising better. And the agency's principals are starting to make some noise to that effect. They're getting noisy apparently not just because they want to grow ESW, but because they think there's a problem with most of the casino advertising on view today. "Most of it follows a recipe: take one part 'you could be a winner' headline, mix with happy hard bodies playing slots, serve with logo," explained Jim Signorelli, founder and CEO of ESW Partners. "That's like advertising that an automobile can get you from Point A to Point B," added Signorelli, who points out that ESW has an "abundance" of casino experience.

ESW just picked up Boyd Gaming's Blue Chip Casino and has previously done work for Motor City Casino Hotel in Detroit, the Tropicana in Las Vegas and the Crown in Australia. Signorelli especially likes his shop's work for the Detroit casino. "We created compelling outdoor advertising promoting the casino using all graphics and no copy," explained Signorelli. As the economy starts to improve, ESW may find it has more opportunities to work with casinos. They no doubt would expect ESW Partners to make good on its ability to deliver non-formulaic advertising.

McDonald's has lost its global chief marketing officer Mary Dillon, who is decamping June 1 to take the CEO job at U.S. Cellular. We don't know what kind of job she'll do at U.S. Cellular, but we weren't impressed with Dillon's five years at the helm of the burger behemoth's global marketing effort.

Granted our first direct interaction with Dillon couldn't have been worse. She was handed a prepared speech to read to us over the phone, and we sat speechless, with phone receiver to ear, while she recited it verbatim. If ever there were a more robotic performance from a top marketing executive, we've yet to experience it. Dillon obviously was good at being a team player at McDonald's. She kept the ads coming for the past five years. But do we remember any of them? Not really. That leads us to believe she was probably a decent manager -- but hardly a visionary.

And that is really what McDonald's needs in the job Dillon is leaving if it wants to regain its preeminence as a marketing force. Just as Dillon was preparing to walk out the door at McDonald's, the fast food giant unveiled a handful of TV spots that seemed to indicate it was ready to get back in touch with its roots as a great advertiser. We're not entirely sure where the impetus for this surprising display originated, but it obviously won't be Dillon's task to ensure that it leads to a full restoration of McDonald's advertising glory.

In the end, Dillon was just like so many CMO's out there today who fill a seat and do pretty much only what they have to do to get the job done. And all the while -- which usually isn't very long these days -- looking for the next thing to move on to. Real commitment? Vision? Legacy? Nope. Not for Dillon or for most of her peers in the marketing world. That's just not what this marketing game is about anymore.

Post production house Optimus/Chicago has added Paul Rosckes as its new visual effects supervisor. Rosckes honed his visual effects skills at post-production house Avenue Edit, where he designed visual effects and graphics for national commercials. After freelancing for Optimus for some time, Rosckes was seen to be a great fit with the Optimus family. "Paul is a remarkable guy who has the talent to create that surprising extra effect or special touch that you'd never expect," said Optimus president Tom Duff. "Optimus has an outstanding visual effects and motion graphics team that shares my passion for finding new ways to approach visual effects challenges," said Rosckes.

For maximizing the opportunity to debut a new hospital with a multi-faceted communications campaign of events, media relations and internal and external outreach, Sherman Health and Kathy Schaeffer and Associates Inc. took the Publicity Club of Chicago's top honor, the Platinum Award for the best overall public relations program at the 51st annual Publicity Club of Chicago's Golden Trumpet Awards ceremony on Friday at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.

The Brand Builder Award for the program most significantly enhancing and promoting a brand for an organization, product or service was presented to the Chicago Botanic Garden for "More than a Pretty Garden." The Elynore Dolkart Meserow Creativity Award for exceptional creativity in a public relations campaign went to Edelman Worldwide for "Axe Dark Temptation: As Irresistible as Chocolate."

And the Edwin J. Shaughnessy Quality of Life Award for the year's foremost contribution to improving quality of life in society through PR was given to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights for "Rigo Padilla: Outstanding College Student, Deportation Halted."

Bianna Golodryga has been named co-anchor of the weekend edition of ABC's "Good Morning America. She joins GMA co-anchor Bill Weir and news anchor Ron Claiborne and weather anchor Marysol Castro. In addition to her new role, Golodryga will continue to report on the economy, Wall Street, business trends and financial issues as a correspondent for all ABC News broadcasts.

Golodryga joined ABC News in July, 2007, covering the economy and business beat. During that time, she also served as substitute co-anchor and news anchor on "Good Morning America." Golodryga began her career in television news in 2001, as a bureau producer from the New York Stock Exchange for the cable news channel CNBC. In 2004, she became a segment producer for "The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo.

ABC's popular "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is looking for a Chicago area family to spotlight on the show. The show's casting producer has put out a call to Chicagoans to consider submitting requests for a makeover. Host Ty Pennington and his crew last did a home makeover in the Chicago area in 2006.

'We want to help people whose stories have really affected their community or made a big difference in other people's lives," said supervising casting director Adam Drucker. To be eligible, a family must own their own single family home and be able to show producers how a makeover will make a huge difference in their lives. Interested families should e-mail a short description of their family story to The deadline for nominations is May 28, 2010.

Those Chicago Blackhawks television ratings just keep going up. Comcast SportsNet Chicago delivered its highest Blackhawks game ratings ever for Wednesday's telecast of game three in the Stanley Cup playoff series between the Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks. The 10.14 ratings shattered the previous all-time-highest rating of 9.24 recorded on April 26 of this year for the telecast of the series-clinching game five in the Blackhawks playoff series with the Nashville Predators. Comcast SportsNet was the highest-rated channel in the Chicago market on Wednesday night for the entire duration of the game with the Canucks. And in the key 25 to 54-year-old adult demo, CSNC bested all other stations in the Chicago market for seven straight hours from 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

It looks as if investigative reporter Dave Savini will be staying at
WBBM-Channel 2, where he and Pam Zekman comprise the news department's
investigative unit. Sources say WBBM management -- worried that talent-hungry
WFLD-Channel 32 might try to poach Savini as it recently did long-time WBBM
political reporter Mike Flannery -- asked Savini for an early decision on
whether he intended to re-sign with the station when his current contract

Savini has reportedly signaled he wants to stay put. "We expect
Savini and Zekman to be with us for a long time to come," said a WBBM
spokeswoman. Which is good, because investigative reports have become a key
component of WBBM's news programming. Both Savini and Zekman are now very
visible on the station's newscasts presenting a number of mini-investigative
reports, as well as more in-depth pieces.

Obie-1.jpgEuro RSCG/Chicago received a Gold OBIE Award in the public service category at the annual Outdoor Advertising Association of America awards ceremony Tuesday night. The OBIEs recognize excellence in outdoor advertising. Euro RSCG was honored for a unique street display set up to encourage donations to -- and support of -- Chicago's Off the Street Club. The display set up on September 25, 2009, featured more than 100 life-sized cut-out images of actual kids from Chicago's west side who regularly participate in the activities of the Off the Street Club.

ESW Partners/Chicago entered work in six award categories in the 2010 Summit Creative Awards competition and wound up with six winners -- one gold, two silver and three bronze awards. The Summit Awards honor creative excellence in small and mid-sized ad agencies.

The documentary "10 Years Ahead," produced by ESW for their recent 10th anniversary, won the gold. In the winning video, ESW interviewed numerous advertising industry leaders and asked them for their opinion on where advertising will be in 10 years.

The silver awards were given for an online campaign created for client CBS News and for a television commercial produced for MotorCity Casino in Detroit. A print ad and brochure done for MotorCity Casino earned two bronze awards. The final bronze award was for "best idea never produced" for City Pool Hall.

Ad agencies in more than 20 countries participated in the Summit Creative Awards competition.

Yamus - AICE Hall of Fame.jpgThe late James "Yamus" Mudra, an editor who influenced many of the most memorable ad campaigns to come out of Chicago's top agencies, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Association of Independent Creative Editors during the 9th annual AICE Awards show slated for May 20, at the Field Museum in Chicago. Naming Mudra posthumously to the AICE Hall of Fame was a unanimous decision by members of the AICE Chicago Chapter, which is hosting this year's awards presentation.

"It was not just that his work helped define what advertising from Chicago was all about in the '80's and '90's," said Bob Carr, an editor at Red Car/Chicago, "but also the role he played in our community that we are acknowledging." Mudra mentored many young editing talents during his years in the business. "As a young editor, I studied his work and tried to emulate his style," said Tim McGuire, founder of Cutters/Chicago. "Yamus was a quiet, unassuming talent with a great feel for storytelling," added McGuire. Among the many spots Yamus edited over the years were commercials for brands such as Bud Light, McDonald's, Hallmark and United Airlines.

Two of Mudra's most memorable ads are Budweiser Light's "Downhill," and "Heartland," another Bud Light spot produced to support the 1984 Olympic Games. We vividly recall both of these superb spots and remember enthusiastically writing about them when we penned an ad column for Crain's Chicago Business during the 1980's. These commercials will undoubtedly stand the test of time and remain a testament to Mudra's great talent.

Tickets for the May 20 awards ceremony can be purchased online at

He's back. And none too soon, if you ask us. Just weeks after shuttering his 22-year-old ad agency, DiMeo & Co./Chicago, Bernie DiMeo is going back to his roots in the communications world and launching a new public relations firm, Bernie DiMeo Communications. The firm's tag line (and with Bernie at the helm, how could it not have one?) is "Old Dog. New Tricks." By that, DiMeo intends to suggest that his new firm will combine the best of old school, traditional public relations practices with the potential and power of new media. "I may be an old dog, but I have learned some new tricks," said DiMeo.

We're sure he has learned plenty of tricks over the years, but most importantly, DiMeo understands the essence of public relations -- the ability to spot a good story and then sell it. If that means using a gimmick or two, then DiMeo will. He's smart that way. And it's what made watching and writing about his now-defunct ad agency so much fun for the past decade.

DiMeo and his new PR team, for now, intend to operate in a lean, low-overhead fashion. His team will forgo a traditional office space and work independently or collaboratively, depending on a project's needs. But DiMeo knows where he can find "office space" if he needs it. "We have about 50 satellite offices around the city, and they all have a liquor license," said DiMeo, who can do quips with the best of them.

He will start out with a small but wide-ranging roster of clients, including the Lake County Fielders baseball team; Gold Coast Tickets, the city's largest ticket brokerage; Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants and the ad agency ESW Partners/Chicago. "ESW is full-service in every way except for PR, so it's a good fit," said DiMeo.

The start-up team at BDC includes Robin Boesen, vice-president; Keith Romero, vice-president, strategic planning, and Nick Ulivieri, account executive overseeing new media. For more information on BDC, visit the newly-launched Web site,

Kevin Flatt.jpgAfter a year-long search, Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago finally has a new executive creative director, Kevin Flatt, 40. He starts his new job June 1. Most recently, Flatt was an executive creative director at Leo Burnett and Arc North America, where he was the digital practice lead. Clearly, C-K, like so many other shops of late, has signaled with the selection of Flatt that it believes digital will be a key aspect of any agency that hopes to survive and prosper in years to come.

"We're already a very good digital shop, and we've been steadily adding talent and resources as part of our aspiration to be one of the best," said Marshall Ross, chief creative officer at C-K. Of course Ross's comments and the selection of Flatt beg the question of whether this kind of creative talent and a major emphasis on this part of the total marketing effort will combine to give C-K a creative profile that is more capable of attracting the best clients as they seek new agency partners.

Flatt's most significant claim to fame as an ad creative, it would appear, is his involvement in the development of the BMW Films at Fallon/Minneapolis. At the time of their release several years ago, these films garnered considerable attention and were seen as a sign of how important efforts in the digital world could be in brand marketing. Now, of course, those films seem painfully old hat in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world that is the advertising business today.

Jerry Kersting has been promoted to president of Tribune Broadcasting. He had been the chief operating officer of Tribune Co.'s broadcasting division since December of 2009. "Jerry's done a great job since becoming COO of our broadcast group," said Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels. "He's smart, innovative and driven -- our stations have been expanding news, adding new programming and building audience." Prior to joining the broadcasting unit, Kersting was executive vice-president for the Tribune Co. and was responsible for identifying strategic opportunities and efficiencies for the company's various media businesses.

Kersting said he has plans to make changes in Tribune Co.'s broadcast news operations. "We intend to shake up traditional local television news by doing things differently and giving viewers innovative broadcasts and a clear choice in our markets," said Kersting. Which sounds a little bit like what Fox and new management at WFLD-Channel 32 are doing -- so far without much to show for it in the television news ratings. Some more downbeat observers have even wondered in recent months whether there is a future for local TV newscasts. Clearly Kersting believes there is. And he apparently wants to deliver a product distinct from the competition.

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About the blogger

Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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