September 26th, 2007

Brooklyn Borough President to Create Ad Public School

By Rachel Monahan
New York Daily News

Brooklyn’s salesman in chief has a new pitch.

Borough President Marty Markowitz is teaming with top ad executives to create an advertising-themed public high school in central Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. Markowitz is expected to announce the partnership tomorrow. The school could open next September.

The announcement was timed to the first day of Advertising Week - an annual meeting of leaders in the field now in its fourth year. Setting the school in heavily minority central Brooklyn was an attempt to get more blacks and Hispanics into the advertising industry, Markowitz told The News. “The number of African-American personnel at advertising agencies in New York is something less than 4 or 5%,” he said.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, an industry trade group, is set to provide money, equipment and other resources, including access to executives, sources said.

Among the ad honchos expected at tomorrow’s announcement is Michael Roth, chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group, an international company comprised of advertising and marketing agencies employing 43,000 workers in more than 100 countries.

Markowitz is expected to pledge money to build or renovate a facility for the school.

The News first reported his plans for an advertising high school in February.

Markowitz said Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and other Education Department officials were studying the “feasibility” of opening the school next fall.

Department spokeswoman Melody Meyer cautioned that the school has not yet been approved. “We’re excited to see it,” she said. “The idea is interesting.”

Famed adman Jerry Della Femina, who grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Lafayette High School, volunteered to teach at the new school when told of the proposal. “It’s a great idea,” he said. “I’m shocked at how few [ad] executives are African-Americans.”

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