BDA Board Gets Down to Business

In its sixth month, DDB Worldwide chairman Keith Reinhard’s business diplomacy group

has a new name, more board members and, for the first time, some specific ideas for combating anti-Americanism.

Joining Reinhard, Saatchi & Saatchi vice chairman Tim Love, Grey Worldwide CEO Steve Blamer, TBWA Worldwide account director John McNeel and McCann WorldGroup evp of research Joe Plummer on the board of what is now called Business for Diplomatic Action are McCann account executive Hashem Bajwa; Alan Siegel, chairman, Siegel & Gale; and Grey CMO Nancy Bachrach, among others.

In addition, Reinhard said BDA’s first two actions have been approved by the board: a dinner for corporate CEOs April 27 to solicit participation in the group, and a “world citizen’s guide,” now in production at Southern Methodist University. The guide’s tips, culled from DDB offices worldwide on cultural differences, are meant to aid business diplomacy abroad.

Last week, Reinhard and Love presented the BDA mission to the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Conn., and Reinhard addressed the Global Marketing Committee of the Association of National Advertisers in New York.

At Yale, Reinhard and Love stressed the decline of American brands. Love started the proceedings by lighting a forbidden cigar and explaining that communications advances had created an uncontrollable “second-hand culture.”

At the ANA meeting, Reinhard pitched another BDA idea: He asked committee members to contribute content for a public diplomacy portal. Reinhard said the committee members, in turn, suggested the group add somebody of “real stature” outside of advertising to give the BDA political muscle.