Brass Tacks

Headshot of Tim Nudd

They may be “street fighters,” but they back down when the cops arrive.

We’re referring, of course, to those wacky renegades at Mezzina/Brown, whose hooligan-themed promo materials may be a hit in New York but raised some hackles after a recent pitch in Pittsburgh.

As staffers prepared to board a flight back to New York, David Kreinik was stopped at the X-ray machine. The offending item in his carry-on? Brass-knuckle paperweights, sitting suggestively next to a guide titled “Street Fighting for Marketers.”

“I saw someone look [at the bag] and say, ‘Sir, could you come with me, please?’ ” the senior associate director of marketing recalls. “They were very polite but very firm.”

Perhaps feeling a bit like Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls, Kreinik was led to a room and grilled by the cops and the FBI. Kreinik gave them a business card and explained himself. “Finally, the policeman said, ‘Sir, you don’t look like a terrorist,’ ” he says. Eventually he won approval to check the knuckles and pick them up at baggage claim in New York.

In the end, M/B didn’t win the pitch. “But what I want to know,” Kreinik says, “is why didn’t they stop me in New York [headed to Pittsburgh]?”

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.