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Ad Ploy is Just Ducky

Ad Ploy is Just Ducky

The News & Observer
February 28, 2004

Author: David Ranni; Staff Writer
Edition: FinalSection: NewsPage: B3

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 nearby.

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.

Copyright 2004 by The News & Observer Pub. Co.

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