WASHINGTON, D.C.: Harris Drury Cohen, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has lost the Diet Rite business and a co-creative director, the latter at least temporarily.
Mike Tesch, a member of the Art Directors Hall of Fame and co-creative director at HDC, is taking an indefinite leave of absence for personal matters. President Stan Harris would not elaborate and did not say when Tesch might return. He did say HDC would absorb the slack with current staffers and co-creative director Richie Kahn.
Tesch could not be reached for comment. The high-profile art director came on board in early 1995 to help give HDC national creative stature and attract New York-based business. Tesch, who is in his late 50s, spent most of his career, almost 30 years, at Ally & Gargano in New York. His resume includes 15 Clios.
Separately, Blum/Herbstreith of New York has been named agency of record for both Royal Crown and Diet Rite colas. There was no review.
"We felt that the message being sent to consumers, especially for Diet Rite, was too fact based: no caffeine, no soda, no calories," said B/H president Alan Blum. "This is soda, not a mutual fund."
HDC won the $3 million Diet Rite business in September 1996. Incum-bent GSD&M of Austin, Texas, which until recently served sister beverage RC cola, did not compete for the business. HDC lost the account when the agency's contract expired and the Triarc Beverage Group, Diet Rite's parent company, moved most of its operations from Fort Lauderdale to White Plains, N.Y.
"It was pretty clear to the company that it no longer made sense to have an agency in Fort Lauderdale," said Harris.