10 (with a bullet?)

The San Francisco Business Times has published its annual list of the biggest SF ad agencies (by staff, if not by moral standing) and, lo and behold, a familiar name has now arrived in the company of such Bay Area industry stalwarts as Goodby, Silverstein and DraftFCB and Publicis. And this seemed kind of cool and woo-hoo worthy.

Lester Bangs & the Detroit Wheel

It is dark and it is cold in January in Detroit. Darker and colder than you’re imagining now. And you are broke. You’ve been amicably tossed, but tossed nonetheless, from your railroad flat in NYC because your childhood buddy, Mark the Shark (he of later Studio 54 celebrity), who more or less owns the place, wants his girlfriend to move in. Actually, she’s in already — they just want a little privacy. Besides, you are a few months behind on the rent, as dirt cheap as it might be, because you are really broke.

And here you are. Detroit in the dead of January.

You know John Morthland from Sausalito, where you lived for ten months, on a lark, after abandoning New York the first time and whom you had met through Ed Ward, the ex-Rolling Stone writer (now “rock historian” on Fresh Air), who gave you your start with an assignment to review Thomas McGuane’s 92 in the Shade. John Morthland’s a really good writer and editor and an amazingly prescient musicologist who was first to discover a lot of things pop-cultural that eluded most rock critics, or at least white ones. Things like rap music (before it was hip hop), Sacred Steel and Moe Bandy. He’s in Detroit to be interim editor — interim, because John is strictly freelance or die. And you know him, it should be clarified, only pretty well, though that may be as well as most anyone knows silent, staring, inscrutably smirking John.

You don’t know Lester.

You know of him, but barely, and as much on the strength of that seemingly concocted name — Lester Bangs — as his writing.

Continue reading “Lester Bangs & the Detroit Wheel”

The little engine that could advertise

The Western Railway Museum, located near Fairfield, CA, is dedicated to preserving the heritage of, specifically, electric trains — the big ones, not the mini-replicas from Lionel — which, as some lucky local kids know, you can actually ride at the museum’s scenic property.

To spread the news about this Bay Area jewel, the folks at AC Transit, responsible for East Bay bus service, offered the museum 300 free bus ads. That’s when Executive Director Phil Kohlmetz turned to D/C for creative. And when AC Transit saw the work, they upped the donation to 900 ads, in order to run all three versions on every bus. And now, Kohlmetz reports, other local media vendors are clamoring to get in on the giving. All aboard.

Graphis taps toes

Graphis magazine, it was announced today, will be honoring D/C’s healthy feet campaign, created for agency-of-record client Birkenstock, with a gold award in its highly competitive 2009 advertising annual. Founded in Zurich in 1944, Graphis is one of the world’s most respected, influential and long-running publications devoted to graphic arts. Founded in Germany in 1774, Birkenstock is one of the world’s most respected, influential and long-running makers of footwear. Founded in San Francisco in 1990, Duncan/Channon is long-running.

See more of our work for Birkenstock and larger versions of the award-winning campaign.

Sign of the Business Times

The San Francisco Business Times pretty much got it right with its second-section cover story last week on the fast-rising San Francisco agency known as Duncan/Channon. Even the photo, snapped in the fabulous Tip, was flattering, making co-founder and ECD Duncan — whose beauty is notoriously hard to capture — look almost OK.

D/C gets an A

“It’s huge,” one senior member of the 4A’s told ECD Parker Channon at the organization’s recent annual conference. “You guys are one of the three best small agencies in the whole country.”

Well, when you put it like that, aw shucks.

And while we’ve talked here about Duncan/Channon being a finalist for the prestigious O’Toole Awards for Creative Excellence, presented by the American Association of Advertising Agencies for a body of work over a year, we just received the statue. And it’s cool. And so is the honor.

Thanks again to the good clients who are essential to any good work — in this case, they were Hard Rock, Birkenstock, ZoneAlarm and Vertigo. And congrats to our fellow finalists, Taxi (who took top prize) and the Arnold Worldwide office in Washington, DC.

The occupation of San Francisco

After years of “temporarily” working in Marin County, Duncan/Channon has now occupied its beautiful new top-floor offices at 114 Sansome Street in downtown San Francisco. D/C’s world headquarters encompasses the entire 14th floor of the Roaring Twenties -era Adam Grant Building, as well as a smaller 15th floor penthouse, accessible by private elevator, that is being converted (god help us) into “The Tip,” a fully operational lounge, complete with wet bar, wine cellar and rooftop cigar salon.

The agency plans to celebrate the grand opening of The Tip, as well as the epochal move to San Francisco, at a sedate and dignified D/C soiree on Friday, March 28, from 5 to ???

By the way, opening day at the new space, March 3, saw the return of the D/C bunny, first sighted skateboarding through the agency’s Bad Decisions holiday party in November. Other than that, the transition has been exceedingly smooth — well, except for phone numbers not getting transferred, the building manager questioning the movers’ insurance and the ultra-cool, custom-built, orange and white Steelcase reception desk not showing up.