NYC Schools Eye TBWA\C\D

Given a go-ahead from the New York City Board of Education, TBWA\Chiat\Day will face an ad challenge of a different sort: How does one attract the best and brightest to teach in the city school system?

The assignment—the brainchild of schools chancellor Harold Levy and the first time in recent memory that the school system has tapped an ad agency—still needs board approval. And as of last week, no resolution had been submitted, said a board representative. “It’s very premature at this point,” the rep said. Levy did not return phone calls.

Still, the New York-based agency, whose accounts include Absolut, Circuit City and Kmart, is intrigued by the prospect of promoting the cause. It is a difficult but worthwhile task in the eyes of agency president Carl Johnson. But, noting the need for board approval, Johnson would say only, “We have had talks with the chancellor and [his] team.”

Other undisclosed agen-cies also met with Levy, sources said, and the selection process came down to an evaluation of chemistry and credentials. Billings were not disclosed.

Though not opposed to the idea of recruitment advertising, the head of the teachers’ union said the timing was wrong. “The advertising should come after you make the job more attractive,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, noting that the union’s contract expired this month. Susan Johann