Published: The News & Observer, February 28, 2004
Ad ploy is just ducky
RALEIGH -- Gotham has the Bat signal. Raleigh has the Duck beacon.
Alas, it isn't used to attract Darkwing Duck, Daffy Duck, Donald
Duck, Count Duckula, Scrooge McDuck or Howard the Duck. Nor will
Huey, Dewey and Louie answer the call.
Instead, the 30-foot-tall image of a duck, projected onto the side
of a seven-story building along Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh,
is a subtle advertising ploy for The Duck & Dumpling restaurant
And it's a cheap ploy, too. Greg Hatem, a downtown developer and
part-owner of the Pan-Asian restaurant on Blount Street, says it
cost just $600 to buy the projector and create a slide with a duck
image. The duck logo already had been created by Brad Magner, co-founder
and creative director of Front Door, a Raleigh ad agency.
The restaurant resisted the impulse to project its name in big
letters. The duck is all you get.
And not everyone makes the connection. But the mystery works for
Hatem. "I don't know if it has done so much for The Duck &
Dumpling," he says. "But it shows we can do some fun things
in downtown Raleigh. Everyone who sees it says, 'I feel like I'm
in a big city.' "
And what is good for downtown is good for Hatem, who owns more
than a dozen buildings in the city's core.
Indeed, he doesn't know whether the law obligates him to compensate
the owner of the Alexander Building, the white limestone and brick
building on Fayetteville Street Mall that serves as a giant "screen"
for the duck logo. That's because he owns the Alexander, as well
as the one across Wilmington Street where the projector is situated.
If only AOL and Time Warner had managed such synergy.