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DiMeo & Co./Chicago is shutting down

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Now we know things are really bad in the Chicago ad industry. Bernie DiMeo, one of the most colorful members of the local ad community for the past 22 years, said Monday he is in the process of shutting down his ad shop, DiMeo & Co./Chicago, which for most of last year employed a staff of 11. DiMeo said the revenue stream simply wasn't strong enough to justify carrying on. "Things hadn't been good for a while," said DiMeo.

The biggest blow apparently came about 16 months ago with the loss of the local Popeyes restaurant co-op account. Though there had been the occasional new business win since then, they weren't enough to make up for a big loss. For the past 16 years, DiMeo also was the agency of record for the Chicago Bulls. Steve Schanwald, executive vice-president, business operations for the Bulls, said that in the short term, the plan is keep the Bulls advertising account in-house. "Long term, we'll see," added Schanwald.

DiMeo said he expects to remain connected to the advertising and public relations industries in some fashion, but he is still sorting out what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. "I should know in about 60 days," he said. In the heyday of DiMeo & Co., no adman embodied the fun spirit of the good ol' days more than Bernie DiMeo. He knew a good party when he threw one, and he was as adept at self-promotion as he was at the art and craft of promoting clients.

But in the end, all the fun stuff couldn't pay the bills. We doubt anyone will come along anytime soon that can match Bernie's joie de vivre. A loss indeed.

Veteran ad man Bernie DiMeo of DiMeo & Co./Chicago doesn't like to lose a piece of business. But that is what has happened. Turano Baking Co. has parted ways with DiMeo, ending a nine-year relationship.

After an agency review in which DiMeo participated, Turano has selected the Jacobs Agency/Chicago as its new agency of record. Jourdan Huys an assistant account executive at Jacobs, said Turano's new agency will develop a comprehensive marketing campaign for the local baking company over the next several months. The new campaign will help build brand awareness among Chicago area consumers, as well as interested trade audiences. DiMeo told us he hated to lose the business, but a change in top management at the baking concern apparently prompted the agency review and the subsequent selection of Jacobs.

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Bernie's found some new business. The times, as we all know, ain't what they were in the Chicago ad industry. Still, stalwart ad man Bernie Dimeo of DiMeo & Co./Chicago has found a piece of new business in downstate Carbondale, of all places. DiMeo & Co. has been awarded a five-year contract to provide marketing and public relations services for Southern Illinois University/Carbondale's Department of Event Services, perhaps best known for its Southern Lights Entertainment performance series.

Southern Lights Entertainment presents approximately 10 to 20 performances a year featuring artists such as Lily Tomlin, Crystal Gayle, B.B. King and others. "As a proud alum of SIU, I'm thrilled to be returning to campus for the first time in . . .well a lot of years," said DiMeo. It's also good to know the alma mater is good for some new business as well as a degree, right Bernie?

Turano.jpgAdvertising vets like Bernie DiMeo of DiMeo & Co./Chicago have seen a lot over time, and even DiMeo tells us things are pretty bad now in the ad business. But thankfully, DiMeo still has Turano Baking Co. as a client, and his agency has just completed a fun outdoor and radio campaign for the nearly 50-year-old local bread company.

The tagline is "Chicago's bread," and on new billboards now going up, we see loaves of bread that have cleverly been inserted into familiar iconic settings around the city. In one ad, a loaf of bread has taken the shape of the Bean sculpture in Millennium Park, while in another, loaves of bread have replaced the columns surrounding Soldier Field.
Radio spots stress how much a part of the Chicago landscape Turano has become while turning out fresh bread every day for almost half a century. Simple, fun, believable advertising.

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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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