- News Now, onto the News
- Comment Ozzie ad man and friend Mark Schroeder writes about ispread2.0, nappies, taking more responsibility as marketers, and keeping this story on our home page for months because, let’s face it, we simply can’t be bothered to find another one.
- Comment Ozzie ad man and friend Mark Schroeder writes about ispread2.0, nappies and taking more responsibility as marketers.
- Sweet P Rebel Headquarters
- Comment Wind power, brainpower and moving an entire highway to make way for our new office. Kinda. Welcome to Rhode Island: The Optimistic-as-all-hell State. Put it on the license plate. Let’s go!
- Comment The power of wind power.
by Dave Duffy. Co-founder, Duffy & Shanley.
February marked the 35th year that Duffy & Shanley has been in business. In Rhode Island advertising/public relations terms, that’s uniquely special. In dog years, it’s off the chart as many of the current Agency crew were not even born on opening day! Just check the agency listing in Providence Business News’ 2008 Book of Lists and you’ll see that no one else is even close in terms of longevity.
Some history for perspective. When the open for business sign was hung out in 1973, Phil Noel was Governor, Joe Doorley was Mayor of Providence, the spanking new Providence Civic Center just came on line, and the Red Sox finished 8 games out, behind Baltimore.
There were no personal computers, Internet, fax machines, cell phones. We did have fancy electric, memory typewriters, which were quite the deal. Art directors had to draw on these big boards, not jockey on a wired box. Not surprisingly, there was more time to think about creative and correct solutions for clients. No one suggests these were better times, just easier.
Not for nothing, but Rhode Island was a hotbed of agencies, with about 50 listed in the New England TelephoneCompany’s Providence Directory. Some of the region’s largest and best were based in Providence. Bo Bernstein was actually the biggest with about 150 people… it was driven by Zayre, a forerunner to the Wal Marts of the world. JoeShanley, later of D&S, was the account executive and helped to grow Zayre from a standing start to almost 200 stores.
Horton Church & Goff was probably the best and largest “industrial” agency in New England. We now call the species “B to B” shops. Creamer Trowbridge & Case (Bob Newbert’s alma mater) was a hot consumer and PR agency that grew very large through acquisitions, eventually moving to NYC before its lights went out. As a matter of fact Creamer bought Horton, which resulted in a quick demise of what was once a superb agency based in the Turks Head Building.
The next generation of agencies was what might be known today as boutique shops – highly creative and winners of numerous awards. They included Leonard Monahan & Saaybe, and Pagano Shenck & Kay. Sadly, all are gone today as the Boston agency scene grew and prospered.
The ad business was significant enough here to have its own industry column in the Providence Sunday Journal, initially written by Clyde Harrington and followed by others for many years. We also had Ad-Com, Ad-East and Ocean State Business, local periodicals which paid much attention to the industry and competed with New England Ad Week. They all combined to keep us very informed (much more than today) of the day-to-day activity and gossip in the regional business.
For the record, D&S opened with two people in offices on the lower level of the Regency East apartment complex. We believe we were the first PR-only agency in Providence, starting with four clients… Reynolds Metals Development Corporation, Rhode Island State Nurses Association, the City of Cranston, and Tupperware employee relations.
Advertising was added three years later, but really began to flourish at D&S in the early 80s with the addition of the Providence Journal and Rhode Island Tourism (we still have it today!) as clients. These additions (because of perceived conflicts) ended our love affair with political campaigns (two for Senator Pell, two for the late Senator John Chafee, and two for Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, as well as many local candidates).
We also went on a hotel binge for some time with clients as the Dunfey Hotels, Omni Hotels, all the Days Inn business East of the Mississippi, and several other properties. But it all evolved to the marvelous client roster the agency enjoys today to include national and international business that no one could have dreamed about in the very provincial world of l973.
Can’t wait to update this story at the 50-year mark!