Talent Zoo Aids in Hurricane Relief

ATLANTA Talent Zoo is asking every person in the advertising business to donate $5 to a fund that will be used to help ad agencies and their employees in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

The Atlanta-based job placement firm donated the first $10,000 on Monday to open the fund, which it hopes will total $250,000 by the end of September. All the money will go directly to help seven independent agencies and their employees pay living expenses and replace equipment damaged in the storm.

The agencies are Peter A. Mayer Advertising, Trumpet, Zehnder Communications and Logan Marketing & Communications, all in New Orleans, as well as Godwin Group in Jackson and Biloxi, Miss., and Maris, West & Baker in Jackson.

TZ is promoting the fund on its Web site and in e-mail newsletters it sends to more than 50,000 people twice weekly. The company will pay administrative costs for collecting and distributing the money.

“I”m going to be disappointed if we can’t do it,” said Rick Myers, president of Talent Zoo. “If I have to, I’ll get on the phone and make personal solicitations. This is about helping our colleagues when they need it most.”

TZ has also teamed with Object 9, a Baton Rouge, La., shop, to maintain a free online job board for ad personnel displaced by the storm and flooding.

“We are sending people away from our job board to theirs,” said Andrea Rizk, a Talent Zoo representative. “We are trying to make sure that our friends and clients in the area don’t go out of business.”