Director resigns from ad group

Davis to leave club as it struggles with finances, attendance

May 14, 1999|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Chic Davis, director of the Advertising Association of Baltimore, is stepping down from that post, which he has held since 1990, to devote more time to other pursuits.

"I'm not going away," Davis said. "I'm just going to spend a little less time at it. I'm still going to be a consultant for the club, but I can't be every day."

Davis said he plans to spend time working on collections of award-winning advertising that he has compiled the past four years into 500-page books called the "American Advertising Awards Annual."

The work requires a significant amount of travel, which would be hampered by his responsibilities with the association, Davis said.

In a letter to association members, Davis said managing the finances of the group has become more difficult and resulted in the group falling short of its annual operating budget by about 10 percent for the past few years.

"Dwindling attendance at events and diminishing participation have led us into a somewhat shaky financial state," he wrote. "I have agonized over the current state of the AAB and what might be best for its future. I have concluded, reluctantly and regretfully, that the time has come for me to step aside."

This year's 25th annual Best in Baltimore ADDY Awards Show attracted fewer than 400 people -- the lowest number in 10 years. Typical attendance at the event, which showcases the best local work in a variety of advertising categories, is about 500, Davis wrote. Local winners compete in regional and national competitions.

"I think it's a well-meaning group that's been trying to run this," said Allan Charles, founder and creative director of Trahan, Burden & Charles Inc., whose agency has not participated in the ADDYs for at least three years. "But the thrust of it has been the annual awards show. And I think if that's ever going to be successful, it should be run by creative people."

Davis' decision has raised concerns in the ad community.

"The letter and Chic's resignation set off an alarm for us that steps need to be taken to strengthen the industry and its association," said Richards R. Badmington, vice president of Cornertone, an advertising and public relations firm based in Baltimore. "The danger is that this market fails to put its best foot forward, fails to present the talent and capability that's here and that we together miss opportunities to succeed."

Davis said he plans to resign effective July 30, after the group's golf and tennis outing, the last event of the summer. His position likely would be filled by a full-time administrative assistant, he said.

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