Bradley Backers Court Ad Execs

Kroll, Kirshenbaum, Deutsch, Kaplan Thaler Eyed for Possible Bid
NEW YORK–The starting gun for the presidential elections of 2000 has sounded, and a team of ad executives is already coalescing behind the possible candidacy of former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley.
Alex Kroll, chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam Inc., has been one of the key players in the preliminary talks, said sources.
While Kroll could not be reached for comment last week, sources said the two have a long-standing relationship. During Kroll’s tenure as chairman of the Advertising Council in New York, Bradley chaired its Advisory Committee on Public Issues.
“Bill is talking to people all over the country about the possibility” of running for president, said Ed Turlington, coordinator of Bradley’s Newark, N.J., office. “It would not surprise me if he and Alex had this discussion.”
The three-term Democratic senator from New Jersey and former New York Knicks star “is seriously considering” a presidential bid and will make the call by the end of this year, said Turlington. “But until he decides what he wants to do, this whole discussion is preliminary,” he added.
The talks concern the creation of an all-star advertising team to support Bradley 2000, said sources. Bradley, who left the Senate in January 1997, would likely mount a Democratic primary challenge to Vice President Al Gore.
Richard Kirshenbaum of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, has participated in several meetings about a possible Bradley bid, said sources. Another player from the ’92 Clinton campaign said to have been approached is Linda Kaplan Thaler of The Kaplan Thaler Group, New York. Neither Kirshenbaum nor Kaplan Thaler could be reached for comment.
Donny Deutsch, chief executive of Deutsch in New York, confirmed he received feelers earlier this year from ad executives about becoming involved in a Bradley team.
“I’ve always been impressed with Bill Bradley; I’m a fan,” said Deutsch, who served with the victorious Clinton/Gore campaign in 1992. “I’m also impressed with Al Gore.” He declined to comment further.
Edward Ney, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada and now chairman of Marsteller Advertising, New York, said it’s not unusual for presidential ad teams to be forming already.
“It’s too early for advertising.
But it’s never too early to talk strategy–for anybody,” said Ney. –with Hank Kim and Trevor Jensen