Shop Talk

“Don’t just be somebody. Be somebody else.”
Andy Berlin of Berlin, Cameron & Partners, on reinventing yourself for the 21st century.

What’s in a Dot-Name?
Net Poachers Trying to Preempt
The official line is that BDM is only a temporary moniker for the merged Leo Burnett-MacManus Group, but that hasn’t stopped some from trying to profit from it already. A quick search at, a search engine that records available Web-site domain names, found some entrepreneurial types already hard at work.
After the merger news broke, businessman Syed Hussain quickly bought up the rights to both www. and “I think this is a good way to get some attention from the big boys,” he says. Nick Lowlings, who owns the rights to and, boldly lists the domains “for sale.”
Burnett officials were not amused, and the agency issued a terse statement: “It’s a shame that they didn’t put their money to better use by making a charitable donation, since we have no intention of using any of those names.”
But for those who think quick cash is a few clicks away, and are still available. K

The Player?
Quentin Tarantino he’s not, but Ron Burkhardt, partner and creative director at Burkhardt & Hillman in New York, is throwing his hat into the independent-film ring, having just produced a made-for-the-Sundance Film Festival short called Red, directed by newcomer
Claudia Alberdi. Burkhardt says the film is an Alfred Hitchcock-style psychological thriller about a man who shows up at a diner in the desert to settle an old score. The original script called for some gunplay, but Burkhardt was dead set against it. “I strongly abhor anything that glamorizes violence,” he says. “I didn’t want my name attached to anything I couldn’t be proud of.” Burkhardt, who bankrolled most of the project (“It’s in the six-figure range,” he says), convinced the director to drop the weapon and go for a nonviolent resolution. How did the adman get into movies? “I’ve become close friends with Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter,” he says, “so I just keep getting pulled into that arena.” He also recently penned the lyrics for “Fetish,” a soon-to-be-released tune by British hip-hopper Basil Moore, who heard a jingle Burkhardt wrote for Heineken beer and liked it.
Sample lyric: “I’m down at your feet. I’m lost in your heat. You are my fetish.” Burkhardt quips, “Hey, I’m the Puff Daddy of the ad world!” K

Show Her The Money!
Agency Staffer Tries for the Pot of Gold
Gotham employee Joanne Criscuolo wanted to be a millionaire–or at least play to be one on TV.
Criscuolo, who’s been Gotham chairman Stone Roberts’ executive assistant for the past three years, says she and her husband, Vincent, got hooked on the Regis Philbin-hosted quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire when it debuted over the summer.
At her husband’s urging, Criscuolo called the show’s 1-800 number to try out. After making it through two rounds of automated questions, in which she completed tasks such as putting former Miss Americas in chronological order, Criscuolo got a call from ABC telling her she’d made it.
The taping was on a Monday. When Criscuolo called her boss on Sunday to ask for the day off, she says Roberts joked, “If you win a million dollars, are you coming back on Tuesday?”
On an episode that aired Nov. 9, Criscuolo and nine other contestants were given one shot to compete for the big money. Unfortunately, the deciding question was about James Bond films, “something I had no idea what to do with,” Criscuolo says. She didn’t get to the big money face-off with Regis.
Criscuolo swears she would have kept her job even if she’d won the jackpot, but admits, “I would like to try Jeopardy.” K