Trumpet Gains HMO

Trumpet Advertising will expand its workforce by 21 percent following its$15 million win of Venture Health Partnership Group.

Six new hires will join the staff of 28 soon, said Jim Gradl, Trumpet co-founder. Four staffers will work at the New Orleans headquarters and two at Trumpet’s four-man office in New York.

Trumpet has also added a public relations department with the arrival last month of Brian Oberkirch, a transfer from Gleason/Calise/Associates of Dallas, who brought $300,000 in new business.

The 4-year-old agency was founded by Gradl, Robbie Vitrano and Pat McGuinness when New Orleans’ oldest ad shop, Bauerlein, collapsed in bankruptcy liquidation.

“We started out with a reputation as a creative boutique, but we’ve grown into a full-service agency,” Gradl said.

Trumpet’s billings have climbed from $13 million in 1999 to $30 million today. The bulk of the agency’s recent new business has been national, ranging from Strength Systems in New Orleans to WeMedia, a New York group for people with disabilities. That $10 million account included an international campaign during the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney.

The latest win, Boston-based VHPG, first hired Trumpet a year ago to handle its New Orleans HMO. That campaign’s success eventually led the privately owned VHPG to choose the agency to handle new acquisitions and develop a national image campaign.