Bernstein-Rein Faces Off Against Nicholson Kovac

By SuperSpy 

Everyone has their version of a story. Did he? No, did she? Argh. Life can be like Rashomon all day long. For an example, take the case of Steve Bernstein, president of the Bernstein-Rein advertising agency, who recently got his weekly radio show critiquing local ad campaigns. Why?

According to the Kansas City press, Bernstein spent one-minute on a recent campaign (pictured above) during his weekly 6 a.m., eight-minute guest segment on KCMO 710 AM with host Chris Stigall. He even prefaced his comments with how much he liked the brand, Starlight Theater, as well as the agency, Nicholson Kovac.


Bernstein said that just a few days later, he was told by Stigall that the station had received complaints from Starlight and that the company was going to yank their dollars from associated stations if he wasn’t fired. A portion of email sent by a staffer at BR to employees, read:

“Hmmm…Now let me remind you that Bernstein-Rein handled the Starlight account for 20 years, until resigning it in the fall of 2002. Sister-company Beauty Brands has been a significant Starlight contributor, single-handedly sponsoring an entire show for the past several years.”

“This (critique) is mild, this is America, he’s an ad exec, he’s entitled to his opinion,”

said Cindy Jeffries, Starlight vice president of marketing and sales, who denies that Starlight made any such calls.

Sherre Johnson
, the NK executive vice president, also denies making calls:

“I don’t know what’s going on with Steve. He made a comment, he’s just making an observation and we didn’t do anything about that, it’s kind of like separation of state and church — what they say on air is separate from advertising — that’s just best practices and we don’t threaten stations.”

He did? She did? Who knows.