Former boss at Doner is joining MGH

Dale appointed senior adviser and member of board

Ad veteran to Owings Mills

`I think he's going to help everyone at the agency grow'

April 01, 2002|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

MGH Advertising Inc. is to announce today that ad industry veteran Jim Dale, former president and chairman of W.B. Doner & Co., will assume a senior advisory role at the Owings Mills advertising, public relations and design agency and join its board of directors.

"We've benefited from being able to have Jim as a friend of the agency," said Andrew M. Malis, MGH president. "Now that he's actually going to be sitting here a few days of the week, I think his knowledge and experience is going to permeate the place. I think he's going to help everyone at the agency grow, and we'll do better work."

Dale, 53, spent his 25-year advertising career at Doner, rising from copywriter to chief executive before leaving the agency in 1995. Some of his most recognized creative concepts include: the "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" campaign, national Arby's Restaurant spots, Colt 45 malt liquor spots featuring Billy Dee Williams and Chiquita Banana campaigns.

For Dale, MGH offers the chance to have time for other projects while working with people he likes.

"I hope I can stimulate some ideas and bring along some other creative people," he said. "I think I have an ability to combine two disciplines of the business that don't always come together - the creative side and the business side."

In 1996, Malis and Jane Goldstrom, two of the founders of MGH and former Doner employees, approached Dale to provide counsel, expertise and ideas for their fledgling agency.

Since then, MGH has grown from a husband-wife consulting company into a full-service agency employing 52 people and amassing more than $57 million in annual billings. Its client roster includes: Utz Potato Chips, the Maryland Technology Development Corp., Weight Watchers and Papa John's Pizza.

His relationship with MGH has been an evolutionary process. Keeping the agency at arm's length initially, Dale said, he increasingly found that he enjoyed the people and culture.

"MGH is totally void of the bologna that tends to go with business, and particularly the advertising business," he said. "It's refreshing. It sounds like that's the way everybody ought to be, but it's rare." In recent years, Dale has helped MGH with creative work for Utz , but he has focused mostly on strategic planning, marketing and management of the agency, Malis said.

"My respect for Jim is that he's a very straightforward, clear thinker," Malis said. "Jim can ask the right questions and get to the problem. He's very probing."

Making the casual alliance more permanent has been a subject of discussion for years, Malis said.

"It's a good time to have someone like that come in and help us take the next step," Malis said. "He loves advertising. ... It's his true love."

Along the way, Dale followed another love - writing. He created a line of humorous greeting cards in 1979 with his then-wife. Called Dale Cards, the line attained worldwide distribution. He estimates he has created about 1,500 concepts for cards.

He left Doner to devote more time to writing, taking an office in Mill Center in Hampden. He has written 10 books including: Palmer and Weaver: Together We Were Eleven Foot Nine with Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer; The Power of Nice, a how-to book on negotiation with agent-attorney Ron Shapiro and Mark Jankowski; and StepWise, a parent-child guide to merged families, with his stepdaughter; as well as several humor books.

His varied experience includes roughly a two-year stint as interim executive director of the Morris Mechanic Theatre starting in 1996, after serving on its board.

"If he wanted to be in this business full time, he could go anywhere," Malis said. "He could go run any of the large agencies in the country. ... He wants that freedom of having one foot in and one foot out. It's perfect for us."

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