Corrections or additions?
Message & Media
This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper
on January 13, 1999. All rights reserved.
Brad Lawrence and Steve De Micco hope that their twinkle
advertisement will produce a jingle in their pockets. The creators
of the "Twinkle Twinkle Kenneth Starr" advertisement that
helped propel Rush Holt into Congress have reprised the ad, in a slightly
different form, and are running it "inside the beltway" on
cable television. The advertisement is a not-too-thinly veiled threat
to Congress, but it is also a plug for their agency, Message & Media
of New Jersey.
"We decided that while they were raising their hands to be sworn
in and about to embark on another impeachment debate would be a good
time to reintroduce the message," says De Micco, a partner in
the New Brunswick-based firm.
The ad drew lots of attention in the Capitol, and national news outlets
took some interest too. It starts out the same way, with Pappas singing,
and, says De Micco, "basically reminds the viewers that Pappas
was defeated for being out of touch and out of tune. The tag line
on the bottom half of this new spot was that the firm that created
this ad has a message for any members of Congress who would put partisanship
above real work. That we’re watching."
Is it normal for a political consulting firm to advertise? "It
is unheard of," says De Micco. "It’s not done, because most
of the business in this profession is passed on by word of mouth."
So this firm shows itself to be a maverick, not only by advertising
itself, but also by refusing to move to the capital. "Most of
the firms in this business are located inside the beltway, and they
interact over the cocktail circuit and in party conferences,"
says De Micco.
But "we like being outside the beltway," says De Micco. "We
feel that we are not a captive of the thinking inside, which he terms,
a "little too self preservational, with too much conventionality."
Though the two Rutgers alumni founded the firm six years ago, Lawrence
had been in the media business since 1980, and De Micco had been on
the strategic and management side of campaigns. As executive director
of the state Democratic Party he coordinated the overall 1989 campaign
that brought Jim Florio to the governor’s office and took control
of the legislature.
The Lawrence/De Micco combo got its first major national notice when
it gave Jim McGreevey a fighting chance to beat Christie Whitman.
That touched off a good deal of notoriety in this industry, and this
year it notched some nationally significant wins on its belt: two
governors, the mayor of D.C., the state senate campaign in New Hampshire,
and five Congress people, including Holt.
They had some losses, too. But De Micco says he doesn’t stack the
statistics by choosing clients based on whether they have a good chance
to win, but rather for their spunk and willingness to take risks.
"That is what is different," he says. "We take the toughest
races. The measure of whether we pick up a campaign is whether it
provides a sufficient opportunity to do things differently."
— Barbara Fox
New Brunswick 08901. Brad Lawrence and Steve De Micco, partners. 732-246-8291;
fax, 732-937-6721. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe we will see you around town this weekend. Here at U.S. 1 it’s a Tuesday morning, we are sitting around the
production table nailing down the final details of another issue of U.S. 1 and trying to look busy for the boss (not
necessarily in that order), and already we are thinking about the weekend.
What a weekend it is — despite the fact that it’s the middle of winter, more or less, and no one in their right mind
would have planned too many activities for this time of year. Yet here we have the new Madame Curie show opening at the
Bristol-Myers Squibb Gallery on Sunday, January 17, and along with the opening you can also take in the exhibits at the
small but fascinating pharmaceutical museum located adjacent to the gallery, as Phyllis Maguire reports on page 34.
Or consider the photography show and talk by Ricardo Barros at the Grounds for Sculpture on Saturday, January 16. As
Preview editor Nicole Plett reports on page 30, Barros has taken as his subjects prominent New Jersey and New York
sculptors. By photographing them with their three-dimensional works, Barros has created the twilight zone of a fourth
dimension. Now that should be a show.
Then there’s the Paul Winter Consort’s peace concert on Saturday, January 16 (see page 44); and the out-of-the-box,
off-the-wall art of Amy Conover, an up-and-coming young art school graduate who transforms medical products and supplies
into sculpture. If the Bristol-Myers Squibb show represents the medical past, Conover’s show — with its opening
reception on Saturday, January 16 — is the future shock.
Now for the event that no one in their right mind would have counted on just months ago: the Rush Holt open house at 50
Washington Road (that’s the ARAP building) in Princeton Junction on Saturday, January 16, 1 to 6 p.m. A word about our
cover story on the newly elected congressman, which begins on page 45: We first wrote about Rush Holt nearly three years
ago, when he sought the Democratic nomination in this heavily Republican 12th district. He lost in the primary and we
resisted suggestions about covering him again as he pursued the prize in the last election. Let him win the race, we
told reporter Joan Crespi, and then we will take the story.
To our amazement he did win, and Crespi — despite coping with a severely broken ankle that required surgery just days
before the election — managed to hobble after the congressman-elect and record his views on the major issues. And even
more amazing: Crespi turned in an engaging 3,700-word piece about a Washington politician that doesn’t have a single
reference to sex. We hope to see you this weekend.
The telephone number for the American Production Inventory Control Society (APICS) is 609-921-2177.
Thank you for your continuing support in publishing announcements for ADDapts in your "Day to Day" section. A year ago
last August I moved from Bergen County to Hopewell Township. Before moving I attended ADAPTS, a Jersey City mutual aid
self help support group for adults with attention deficit disorder. There was no such group in Mercer County so, when
St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center offered me rent-free space, I decided to start one. Ever since then U.S. 1 and other
newspapers have given ADDapts free announcements.
In your December 23 issue you focus on several charitable organizations and issues related to giving in this community.
These articles called to my attention your own broad concerns with human welfare and prompted me to reflect on your
contribution to my own group. ADDapts could not have gotten off the ground much less continue to exist without the
support of you and others like you.
John W. Rydberg
Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADAPTS)
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