Among The Richards Group's clients was the Dallas Times Herald. Today, the ad agency reps The Dallas Morning News. Of course it does.

Advertising Age

The Dallas Video Festival, turning 19 this year, kicks off Tuesday night at the Angelika Film Center before moving to the familiar confines of the Dallas Theater Center. And while we're previewing it in Wednesday's issue of the paper version of Unfair Park, we don't have room for everything; 200 entries will do that to ya. But over the next few days, we'll use this space to suggest some local entries, and first up is an unlikely offering: a tribute to The Richards Group, the local advertising agency that, over the years, has sold everything from 7-Eleven to Sports Illustrated (with Steve Garvey and Lyle Alzado, Whataburger to Dallas Times Herald. Ah, the irony: Richards Group is now the ad agency employed by The Dallas Morning News, and speaking of, tomorrow's the day when buyouts are scheduled to be offered to 120-plus members of the paper's staff, and no ad agency in the world is gonna make that look good.

After the jump, you can see two of our favorite ads.

Some of the spots will warm the heart and moisten the eye of the lifelong native; the spots for Q102, the Times Herald ("We're always fresher in the morning"), Texas Power and Light and the Dallas Blackhawks hockey team are like crack for nostalgists. The best of the Times Herald spots is one in which Dabney Coleman reads from a gushing review written by TV critic Steven Reddicliffe; "it's this kind of honesty in journalism that makes us all proud we can read," says the then-star of Buffalo Bill. There is no way you could pull off that kind of reach-around today; the folks at Poynter would be all over your sell-out behind.

And then there's the 7-Eleven spot titled "The New American," about a woman who came to the U.S. "with a cardboard suitcase and a dream" who winds up managing a 7-Eleven. In the spot, she's racing to the airport to meet the "children she was forced to leave behind six years ago." I wonder how the ad would play now: It ends with the deep-voiced announcer saying, "At 7-Eleven, we think everyone should remember that America is a country built by immigrants...To all the new Americans who have become part of our family, we say welcome." Billy Bob'd probably buy fewer Big Gulps, no doubt.

Video fest director Bart Weiss says the collection's intended to pay tribute to "the atmosphere of creativity Stan Richards has kept alive there for 30 years, which is a difficult thing to do--to encourage creative people to be creative every single day." You can see these ads and dozens more Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Dallas Theater Center. For more info about the Dallas Video Festival, check out the Web site. --Robert Wilonsky

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