Reality CheckWild Postings

Double Vision

Dennis Holt founded Western International Media 30 years ago and launched the independent media buying business. Lou Schultz took the helm of Interpublic’s Western in late 1999, renamed it Initiative Media Worldwide and engineered a sweeping transformation of the nation’s largest media shop into what he calls a “total communications agency”—not coincidentally helping to realize the vision that compelled Holt, in 1994, to sell Western to Interpublic in the first place.

Despite his focus on the future, almost from the day he arrived Schultz has promised to honor the shop’s storied first chairman. Last week, he delivered on that pledge. Schultz, Holt and several dozen Initiative executives raised champagne glasses to toast the unveiling of the Chairman’s Wall, a gallery at the agency’s Wilshire Boulevard headquarters in Los Angeles upon which will hang portraits of chairpersons past, present and future.

Schultz (pictured, right) and Holt (left) posed before their likenesses in their first public appearance together since before the name change last February.

Choice Words

For the last time (we promise), an item on the recurring idea that media agencies should hire anthropologists and other cultural experts to help them understand consumers’ ever-changing attitudes and the usage of media. But this time, we went straight to the source, or rather, the source came to us.

Dr. Bob Deutsch, an anthropologist who has studied chimps in Tanzania and preliterate tribes in New Guinea, the Kalahari and the Amazon and is now an in-house communications consultant at DDB in New York, sent an e-mail responding to a recent Adweek column on the paralyzing consequences of too much choice with this advice:

“Life in a culture—ours—in which there is no ready-made niche to rest your head on and everything is plucked while still green and hard, makes Americans exceedingly needy of rest. Similarly, the common sentiment I hear from ‘the folk’ nowadays is: ‘Things are always advancing, getting better, sometimes for the worse.’ “

Paint It Black

Photos of people dressed in black are de rigueur for creative types, but now that media has become too hip for the room, the Barney’s look has come to media agencies.

For MediaCom’s first promotional brochure, even chairman Alec Gerster went basic black, posing with four of his top people: über-negotiator Jon Mandel; national broadcast chief Donna Speciale; top strategist Dene Callas; and head of client services Jim Porcarelli. A bit risqué, perhaps, but Gerster notes his place will take risks, such as convincing client Reebok to shift from print to TV and take a franchise sponsorship position in Survivor before the show even debuted.

Besides, says Gerster, “we wanted to show the world this isn’t Grey Advertising’s media department anymore.”

Let It Ride

BusTV Advertising, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J., company that places ads on bus TV monitors and runs spots on 100 buses that ferry tri-state funseekers to Atlantic City and Connecticut casinos, is moving into a new kind of mobile persuasion.

Before watching a new release video on satellite TV monitors aboard the buses, passengers see up to three minutes of spots. The program broke last month with an ad trailer for Disney Buena Vista’s Home Entertainment release of the latest Kirk Douglas flick, Diamonds. New advertisers coming on board this month include Senocot, a natural laxative, regional retirement communities and elder-law attorneys.