Wednesday, March 12, 2003

What's the Buzz?


Nonprofits get chance at $25,000

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Barefoot Advertising has come of age and wants to help others do the same.

The downtown agency is inviting Tristate nonprofits to compete for a pair of $25,000 advertising campaigns, designed for a nice price: free.

"We definitely feel like we're now in a place where we can give back more to the community," Barefoot president Doug Worple said, calling his agency "blessed."

In exchange for the work, Barefoot only wants to see the ads actually hit the market, rather than sitting on a shelf, with the applicants raising the money for production and media placement. It wants submissions by April 1, and work on the first campaign could start in May.

Worple said the agency has provided similar free services to groups including the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Cincinnati and Enjoy the Arts. But it hopes to spread the wealth more this year, realizing a bigger benefit for more clients and a bigger slice of goodwill for itself.

Based in Longworth Hall, Barefoot was founded in 1995 and is run by several former Procter & Gamble Co. executives.

Bigger is better

There isn't any confusion about mission for Patrice Watson.

The new publisher of Cincinnati Magazine wants a bigger share of the wealthy Tristate households as subscribers.

As of October 2002, paid circulation was 28,576, more than the year before, Watson said. In the next three years, she has an admittedly optimistic goal of half of all the households in the region with income above $100,000 - there are about 88,000 overall - in the fold.

"It's going to take a few years, but we're realistic about it," Watson said. "It's going to take a lot of selling, one-by-one."

Newsstand sales, only one-fifth of total magazine sales, are another target. She hopes to talk with retailers and distributors about her plans.

Low profile

There already has been a blizzard of shareholder lawsuits filed against Provident Financial Group Inc., only a week after the company announced that an accounting mistake would force it to restate earnings for a staggering six years.

But one prominent voice has been silent: Largest shareholder Carl Lindner and his family.

Because of the Lindner family's huge stake in Provident's long-term success, insiders don't expect any legal action from the Lindner group, or a push to change Provident's management. Privately, they seem to have accepted the explanation that the trouble stemmed from an accounting error.

The Reds owner, his sons and his company, American Financial Group Inc., control about 40 percent of Provident's common shares combined. They took the biggest hit when those share prices dropped 20 percent last Wednesday, losing $128 million on paper.

Lindner's office had no comment on Provident.

E-mail cpeale@enquirer.com



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