The legislative watchdog for the Texas advertising industry is taking a long nap for this year's statehouse session.
Board members for the Texas Council of Advertising and Magazine Publishing (TCAMP) confirmed that due to a lack of both member support and pressing issues, the organization is abandoning its lobbying efforts this year.
Marsha Cook, TCAMP chairman and executive vice president at Texas Monthly, sent a letter in January to members informing them the group has faced "diminishing concern and support . . . In light of this situation, it is with deep regret that the TCAMP board has voted to place the organization into hibernation."
In 1999, the industry will be dependent on individual board members' contacts in the legislature and the government relations committees of trade organizations like the American Advertising Federation.
The Texas organization has long had trouble collecting dues from agencies outside the state's largest shops (The Richards Group, DDB Needham and Publicis, all located in Dallas; Temerlin McClain of Irving, Texas; and GSD&M in Austin, Texas)--and publications other than Texas Monthly.
TCAMP board member Larry Spiegel, a Richards principal, said it "primarily became an issue of the [larger] agencies . . . paying the freight, and the rest of the world didn't want to pay.
"Basically, TCAMP is a very important part of protecting our industry against people who might want to kill it," added Spiegel. "The sad part is, when the next fire occurs, we'll have to [play] catch up.
"I think we better protect ourselves," he said.
TCAMP has long been the state industry's stalwart against any proposed taxes aimed at advertising, marketing, circulation and public relations. Two years ago, the group sounded an alarm and helped rewrite legislation that would have imposed a tax on public relations fees.