GlobalHue's Weird Bermuda Ad Expenditures

Last Updated Apr 7, 2009 12:29 PM EDT

UPDATE: Globalhue responded to this article in the comments section below. GlobalHue spent $200,000 advertising Bermuda Tourism on a gospel music TV channel and $525,000 on minority interest channel TV One, but only $308,270 on Time Warner's Manhattan cable network; $44,983 in bridal magazines (where the honeymoon market is); and only $357,531 in The New York Times. You can download GlobalHue's expenditure list here.

GlobalHue's handling of the $13 million Bermuda Tourism account has been the subject of controversy ever since it emerged in an audit that the agency had overcharged Bermuda as much as $1.8 million, not returned discounts, and averaged 51 percent in media commissions on the business. (Industry averages are 10 percent or less.)

GlobalHue did not immediately return BNET's call for comment.

The context here is that Bermuda prime minister Ewart Brown and GlobalHue boss Don Coleman are longtime buddies, as pointed out by Clare O'Connor in Mid Ocean News:

... the Minister of Tourism and Premier Ewart Brown's "close personal relationship" with the head of GlobalHue was troubling. Don Coleman, the agency chief, is a friend of Dr. Brown's who last year made headlines when he gave the Premier a ride to Washington, DC on his private jet.
BNET's Bermuda source adds that it is well-known that Brown and Coleman went to Howard University together.* (See comments section below.) And Coleman has donated $25,000 or more to Howard's alumni legacy auditorium fund. In addition, GlobalHue spent $80,000 advertising Bermuda on a televised Howard basketball game. Another Bermuda newspaper, the Royal Gazette, points out that the Howard ads didn't even run. As Ad Age's Jonah Bloom points out (oddly in MON, but not in his own paper):
There's a lot about this that smells wrong.
Among the eyebrow-raising expenditures by GlobalHue on the $13 million account:
  • Media placement fees by Cornerstone Media were 16 percent across the account.
  • $200,000 on the Gospel Music Channel.
  • $525,000 on TV One.
  • $13,900 in the Baptist Voice.
  • $87,000 was spent in Latina magazine.
By contrast, only $308,270 was spent on Time Warner in Manhattan; just $44,983 was spent in bridal magazines; and only $357,531 was spent in The New York Times (which rich people read).

Final note: In an amazing coincidence, TV One was created by a company founded by another Howard alumna, Cathy Hughes. Hughes sits on the board of TV One. * Correction: Globalhue points out in the comments section below that Coleman did not go to Howard with Brown. BNET apologizes for the error. The error came about because Howard's alumni legacy page lists Coleman as a donator of at least $25,000 to its fund.