Don’t Tread On Me

What do you do when you evoke the ire of the ad industry’s largest trade organization? You launch an editorial-cartoon contest about it, of course. That’s what Talent Zoo, the Atlanta-based job-recruitment and -placement specialist for the ad business, did last week after that nasty spat with the 4A’s over a column on the Talent Zoo Web site criticizing Advertising Week.

The 4A’s, a sponsor of the event, dropped Talent Zoo from a panel discussion at its upcoming Media Conference in March but reversed its decision last Monday. The 4A’s president, O. Burtch Drake, called the ban a “miscalculation.” Many called the 4A’s action an attack on free speech. Rick Myers, president of Talent Zoo, and Danny G. (aka Dan Goldgeier, a freelance copywriter in Cleveland), the columnist who wrote the piece, agreed. “I was just trying to have a little fun,” Goldgeier says. “But I think I said what a lot of people seemed to be thinking.”

Talent Zoo received more than 1,100 e-mails of support, Myers said. He has posted hundreds of them on a wall in the Talent Zoo office that he calls “Inspiration Point.” “We are trying to have fun with it,” Myers says.

At press time, the company had received about a half-dozen cartoons for the contest. The winner gets $20 and a snazzy Talent Zoo cap, Myers says. Goldgeier’s next column is due online tomorrow, but it won’t be about the 4A’s or Advertising Week. “I think it’s time for everyone to move on,” he says.