The Gate’s Manifesto Heads to Bookstores

NEW YORK Who says agency self-promotion is dead? After reading an Adweek article last month about StrawberryFrog touting its failed pitch for Hyundai, at least one agency responded with a promotion of its own.

Beau Fraser, managing director at The Gate in New York, wanted to make sure we saw an ad the agency ran in The New York Times in November 2005.

The ad, picturing a cow with a gun pointed at its head, talks about how The Gate wants to kill off the “sacred cows” in the advertising business, such as “It’s okay to act like a jerk if you’re talented” and “No one reads body copy.”

In the ad, the cow stands next to a lamppost with a Madison Avenue sign. At the top, written in Ransom Note Helvetica, are the words, “Death to all sacred cows.”

The slogan serves as the rallying cry of the agency, whose clients include CFA, Colonial Life and Unum, and is also the title of an upcoming book.

Death to All Sacred Cows will be published by Hyperion Books next March with Fraser, along with David Bernstein, ecd, and Bill Schwab, cd, listed as authors.

The Hyperion offer stemmed directly from the ad, Fraser said.

“The book is about the cues, standards and criteria against which decisions are made,” said Fraser. “They may have been created 30 years ago and had relevance then, but now that category or product has changed they are no longer relevant.”

The book is aimed at a general business audience, but Fraser hopes younger executives will take particular notice. “The tone of voice in the ad is a little sarcastic and a little snarky and that’s what we did in the book,” Fraser said.

The Gate will handle advertising for the book, with a Web site and book tour already planned. “The meetings should be really short,” said Fraser.