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.
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.
- See BNET's previous coverage of GlobalHue:
- iCrossing Lays off 30 Despite Landing Troubled Bermuda Account
- GlobalHue Accused of Overbilling Bermuda Account; Agency Plays Race Card