Agencies Fight Over Work

A small Richmond, Virginia-based agency, Work isn't too pleased that ex-Huge executives named their new shop Work & Co. Work has taken to Facebook posting images of each shop's logos along with the note, "In May we were contacted by several individuals who read an article in Advertising Age announcing an agency opening in New York called Work & Co. Some were confused and wondering if it was us. Some were shocked. Some were angry. We contacted the new agency to express our concerns. However, they did not share the same concerns. What do you think?" Work is a small agency, doesn't have a lot of resources for a legal battle but makes the point that there could be some confusion in the marketplace regarding the two agencies. For their part, Work & Co. isn't too concerned. Work & Co. Founding Partner Gene Liebel told Ad Age, "We conferred carefully with legal counsel before setting up our name, of course, and determined that it doesn't infringe either on the name 'Work Labs,' or the hundreds of other company names that include the word 'work,'" While Work claims it has trademarked the word "Work," Work & Co. does have a point. That said, even if they do have a point, why bother risking confusion when ad agency name choices are literally limitless?



Oh you greedy transit agencies (and ad agencies that produce the work). Yet another study is out which, in essence, slaps you on the wrist for placing your liquor ads where kids can see them. The watchdog organization Alcohol Justice just released a study on 32 metropolitan transit agencies and found that while 18 out of 32 agencies prohibit alcohol ads, 9 of the 14 remaining agencies only have partial limits on alcohol advertising. The study also states that economic justifications for accepting liquor advertising are largely unfounded. Just .03% to .10% of operating revenue is from alcohol ads and only 3% to 10% of ad revenue comes from the category. Alcohol Justice Executive DIrector and CEO Bruce Lee Livingston said, "Alcohol ad revenue is less than ten percent of total advertising and one tenth of one percent of total operating revenue for these agencies. To save less than a penny from each rider's fare the transit agencies are exposing millions of underage youth to alcohol ads and contributing to emergency room and addiction costs for youth." 

In its quest to go national by its 100th anniversary in 2017, Salisbury, North Carolina-based soft drink company Cheerwine has hired Charlotte-based BooneOakley to help the brand expand. Cheerwine SVP of Marketing and Sales Tom Barbitta said he chose BooneOakley for its understanding of the "brand soul," its experience taking brands national and its strategic and creative skills. We've seen some great work from BooneOakley and we have no doubt they'll do a stellar job for Cheerwine as well. But a soft drink company called Cheerwine? Does anyone see a branding problem here?

It's nice to be appreciated after years of service isn't it? Mike Hughes, president of The Martin Agency will be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in April along with six other inductees. He will be given the David Bell Award for Industry Service, recognizing extraordinary and unique contributions and service to the advertising community. Hughes, who helped build The Martin Agency into the powerhouse it is today, also served as chairman of the VCU Brandcenter since 1995 until just recently. And the Brandcenter named its building after him in 2010. Though Hughes was diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago and, in January, was given two weeks to live, he's still as active as ever and blogs regularly at unfinishedthinking: some thoughts on living and dying.
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