While the Baltimore Orioles are negotiating to keep outfielder Phil Bradley, catcher Mickey Tettleton and other free agents from leaving after this season, the team's advertising agency has given notice that it is playing out its option and flying the coop.
Citing the usual "significant differences in creative direction," Baltimore's VanSant Dugdale has notified the ball club that it will not renew its contract to do print and broadcast advertising when it runs out Sept. 30.
Sheldon Taule, senior vice president of the agency, which also handles advertising for USF&G, Jiffy Lube and Martin Marietta, said that while the parting was friendly, VanSant had become frustrated that team officials would not let it try more creative approaches with Oriole advertising, such as the highly successful "Why Not?" campaign that VanSant came up with to heighten interest in last year's surprisingly successful Orioles team.
"The Orioles want to keep the advertising pretty close to the product -- you know, using footage from games," Taule said. "That really is more of a technical or production exercise, where you're not bringing much to the party."
Bob Aylward, the Orioles' vice president for business affairs, said: "I think essentially, they felt like the fun had gone out of the account."
The team hopes to have a new ad agency in place before the season is over, Aylward said. And while he conceded that the Orioles ad account is "not a real heavyweight," he added: "It's a plum account because of the visibility."