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EDITORIAL: Why Not Richmond?

Sep 22, 2007

By Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

Sep. 23--AOL's executives are heading to New York so they'll be in the middle of the undisputed capital of media, advertising, and money. But New York doesn't hold a monopoly on creative thinking. Nor do its denizens always possess a firm understanding of attitudes in Middle America. Manhattan, after all, is an island.

Some pretty good thinkers right here in Richmond have proven that innovation and original approaches sprout frequently in the hinterlands. The Martin Agency's ads for GEICO not only rank among the most entertaining of the decade; that campaign also has changed the way car insurance is marketed in this country. And of course Wal-Mart -- the world's largest retailer -- ultimately chose Martin as its lead agency at least in part because the local folks seem to have a more sophisticated grasp of what motivates everyday Americans than do some of their competitors in bigger cities. Martin's chairman emeritus, Harry Jacobs, figured out decades ago that Richmond can take on New York and Chicago -- and win, at least sometimes.

Martin, by the way, did some work for AOL a couple of years ago. If things don't work out in New York, the online service might want to think about moving its headquarters to our friendly confines.

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Copyright (c) 2007, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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