The Irvine advertising firm of deYong Ginsberg Weisman Bailey swept Orange County’s annual AdClub AdAwards on Friday, taking 54 honors. That includes 4 gold, 12 silver and 38 merit awards, plus 1 of 3 Best of Show awards, given for its campaign for Apple computers.
In all, dGWB took home almost twice as many awards as the second biggest winner, Salvati Montgomery Sakoda Inc. of Costa Mesa. Salvati Montgomery carted off 4 gold, 7 silver and 17 merit awards. No. 3 was Roberts/Mealer/Emerson Inc. of Costa Mesa, which took six gold and three silver awards, and one merit award.
Each of the top three winners in the 31st AdClubcontest--dGWB, Salvati Montgomery and Roberts/Mealer--took one Best of Show award.
But Friday clearly belonged to dGWB, not bad for an shop that didn’t even have an office 4 days before its official opening Jan. 18, 1988.
Although deYong Ginsberg Weisman Bailey the firm may be new to Orange County, its partners know the turf.
Agency Sees Growth
The agency was founded in 1975 as Reiser Williams deYong. It was bought out in the spring of 1987 by NW Ayer, the giant national agency based in New York. Reiser Williams was renamed Ayer Pacific. It was while the current dGWB partners were still with Ayer Pacific, in fact, that they worked on the campaigns that swept last year’s AdClub show.
Eight months later, in December, Ayer announced that it was trimming its Orange County operations. Soon Dan Ginsberg, president of Ayer Pacific, quit after he learned Ayer was shutting down the Orange County creative operations, his partner Jim deYong recalled in an interview this week. And a short time later, DeYong, then Ayer Pacific’s executive creative director, also jumped ship. The two teamed up with Mike Weisman and Ceebs Bailey to form dGWB, which opened with a 13-person staff.
In the past year, dGWB’s staff has grown to 26. Its annual billings, according to its partners, total $13 million to $15 million. At the same time, the partners have branched out of their early niche of mostly high-tech work.
With Pizza Hut as its (pun intended) entree several years ago, deYong said, dGWB gradually has been doing more consumer-oriented work for clients such as Lincoln Savings, the Orange County Transit District, a division of Yamaha Music Corp. and the makers of the Miami Cooler beverage. dGWB has earned a reputation for strong, creative work with campaigns such as the one for Lincoln Savings, which won a merit award Friday.
Most financial institutions find new employees through gray, lackluster ads in a newspaper’s classified section. But Lincoln “didn’t want the kinds of people who would answer those ads,” Bailey said. So dGWB put together recruiting posters in the form of a question-and-answer quiz with lines such as: “The ideal boss: (a) Doesn’t exist. (b) Is Bruce Springsteen. (c) Will call me “sir.” (d) Will respect my individuality.” The questions were intended to attract students “who aren’t the average Joe Blow,” Bailey said.
Another big winner was its work for Yamaha, which brought 4 gold awards, including best national campaign, and 5 silver and 11 merit honors.
Yamaha distributes audio equipment for professional musicians and recording studios. A typical ad for such equipment would show lots of photos of products accompanied by lots of technical jargon about product specifications.
Instead, said dGWB creative director Bailey, “we wanted to talk about the magic of music, the creative fire musicians have inside them. Nobody was doing that.”
One of the resulting award-winners reads: “The sounds came together like a recipe. It began as you were grating the Parmesan. Then the ping on the oven timer chimed in just right. . . . Before you knew it. . , you couldn’t resist going to the keyboard.”
Yamaha, which had been an Ayer client for 20 years, had been considering going elsewhere before the Orange County office was added. They stayed, liked the dGWB partners’ work, and went with them when they started their own shop.
‘They’re the Best’
These days, “we just think they’re the best we’ve ever had,” said Bob Davis, advertising and promotion manager for the Professional Audio Division of Yamaha Music Corp. in Buena Park.
With dGWB, for example, he said, “the creative writer, the art director and the production manager all go to trade shows and spend time with us. They make a monumental effort to learn our industry and our customers, so they’re better able to communicate” the products Yamaha is selling.
Davis and other clients also gave dGWB high marks for a creative touch that gets noticed. Of course, sometimes you can have too much impact.
There was the poster, for instance, that dGWB plastered on the sides of Orange County buses that read, “Coach Potatoes Inside.” “The idea was that people come in, sit down, relax and commute,” deYong said.
The posters were effective, but they lasted only 3 days because they made the drivers angry. “People kept getting on the buses and saying, ‘Aha! You’re the coach potato,” deYong said.
Then there was the billboard dGWB designed to tell passers-by that the Anaheim Memorial Medical Facility was coming to Anaheim Hills. The billboard would show four physicians in doctors’ garb and read, “Your new neighbors carry knives and wear masks.”
The client loved the billboard and gave it the nod. But it never made it into print.
The site for the medical facility, it turns out, was one freeway exit away from the site proposed for a controversial mens’ correctional facility.