Agency benefits from close ties to owner Angelos


January 05, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Staff Writer

The Baltimore advertising agency of Richardson, Myers & Donofrio Inc. has won the prestigious contract for the Baltimore Orioles, helped by its long-standing relationship with the team's chief owner.

"They are a very accomplished advertising agency," said Peter G. Angelos, chairman of the Baltimore Orioles. "I do know the principals in the agency, and that always helps."

The contract, which became effective yesterday, involves coordinating all marketing efforts for the Orioles, including broadcast and print advertising.

Neither the Orioles nor Richardson, Myers & Donofrio Inc. (RM&D) would disclose the size of the contract. Advertising trade publications have estimated the total advertising budget -- which includes payments to broadcasters and publications -- at between $1 million and $3 million annually. But Mr. Angelos called those figures "sort of high."

As the advertising agency, RM&D receives an undisclosed portion of the billings as a fee.

While the contract is not huge by advertising industry standards, it is eagerly sought work because of its high visibility.

RM&D served as the public relations consultant to the Angelos ownership group that bought the Orioles in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction in August for $173 million. Mr. Angelos has also used the agency for his law practice and is a friend of Hal Donofrio, the chairman of the company.

Mr. Angelos said the change from Trahan, Burden & Charles, which handled the account for four years, did not reflect any dissatisfaction with the old agency. "The change was approved in light of the background of the new firm," he said.

RM&D president Chuck Donofrio, Hal Donofrio's son, attributed the switch to the "trust" that has been built over the years between RM&D and Mr. Angelos. "They have a good relationship," he said about the agency and Mr. Angelos.

Chuck Donofrio said the agency has not yet formulated a new marketing plan for the team. But, he said, "I think there is some room for innovations in that area."

He said he sees the agency strengthening the team's relations with fans. There may also be a shift in the way the team is marketed.

Some of the agency's past campaigns have included billboards promoting abstinence with the motto: "Virgin -- teach your kid it's not a dirty word," and the television advertisements that urge women to "Get a mammogram. Once a year for a lifetime."

RM&D, which has 80 employees, is one of the largest advertising agencies in the Baltimore area and handles accounts for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Crown Central Petroleum Corp., and Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The loss of the Orioles contract will not significantly hurt Trahan, Burden & Charles, said Allan Charles, executive vice president and creative director of the firm. "In the world of advertising, it is not a large account," he said.

The Baltimore firm, which has 130 workers, won the London International Advertising Award last year for an Orioles TV commercial featuring Little Richard belting out "Go Play in The Yard," a reference to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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