Giuliani helps launch Doner's new division

March 05, 1997|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Baltimore-based W. B. Doner & Co. is stepping into the political advertising arena with a new division and a big-name client -- Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York.

Giuliani has signed on as the first client of the newly formed Doner Public Affairs, which will produce broadcast and newspaper ads and plan media strategy for the mayor's re-election campaign, the agency said yesterday.

Doner, also headquartered in Detroit, formed the division by merging with the Goodman Group Inc., a 38-year-old political media consulting firm with Baltimore roots.

Goodman, which moved to Tampa, Fla., two years ago, currently represents Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson.

Political strategist Adam Goodman, former president of the Goodman Group, will head the Doner division from the agency's Tampa office. Goodman has acted as consultant on Senate campaigns of Pete Wilson in California and Pete Domenici in New Mexico and on Florida congressional campaigns of Charles Canady and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, among others, and, since 1982, has worked for the firm founded by his father, Robert Goodman.

Giuliani chose Goodman as his campaign media consultant about the same time that Goodman and several associates joined Doner.

"We were known for creating positive, compelling media," Goodman said yesterday from New York, where he was traveling with Giuliani. "Given that our competition was largely made up of firms that use bare-knuckled politics, our strength was simply being able to take the candidate's message and convey it to voters compellingly."

Leading up to the high-profile mayoral race in November, Goodman said, the message will focus on "the ability of one leader to fundamentally change the way things are done, to lower crime, lower taxes and [add] more jobs."

Besides lining up political candidates, the new Doner division expects to woo corporations in need of a political consultant's touch, Goodman said.

"The division between politics and business is growing smaller and smaller," said Goodman.

"We are trained to be able to respond effectively and with a sense of foresight about the next 10 steps.

"That kind of response is missing in traditional corporate advertising."

Most large, mainstream advertising agencies have shied from or only dabbled in political advertising, leaving it to firms that specialize, said Alan Kalter, W. B. Doner chief executive officer.

But he sees political advertising as offering much the same growth potential as the retail industry did in the early 1970s and the automotive industry after that.

"Every agency today is looking for new business; this is one area that has been overlooked," Kalter said.

"It's well-suited to us based on our ability to generate significant consumer action in a short period of time.

"Who needs that more than political candidates? You either win or you don't."

"Obviously, there is an expertise that is significant to the category, and without it you can't be effective," he said. "Adam and his people bring that expertise. We bring resources to handle candidates in a more professional and deeper way than ever before."

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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