Zimmerman & Markman was founded in 1990. Our plan was to bring together a nationally recognized political campaign manager and media consultant (Bill Zimmerman) with one of America’s most successful commercial advertising copywriters (Pacy Markman). Our promise was to create political advertising with the emotional power often found in sophisticated commercial advertising but commonly absent from political advertising.
For over 20 years, we have delivered highly effective print and electronic advertising and strategic communications consulting to progressive issue advocacy campaigns, ballot initiative campaigns and candidates throughout the country. We are committed progressives. Because we only accept clients who share our point of view, we are able to bring passion and commitment to every project we undertake.
Some of our most visible work during the Bush administration was on behalf of MoveOn.org. We created and produced virtually all of their advertising between 2003 and 2007. Our work with MoveOn.org helped them grow from a membership of 300,000 when we first started to over 5 million. In 2004, Bill Zimmerman managed MoveOn.org’s $23 million campaign to defeat George Bush. In 2006, Z&M created MoveOn.org’s “Caught Red-Handed” television campaign that was instrumental in achieving Democrat control of the House of Representatives. In 2008, we created TV spots for MoveOn.org and others working to defeat John McCain.
With regard to elections, Zimmerman & Markman specializes in strategic advertising for ballot initiatives. We have worked on dozens of ballot initiatives in thirteen states, including 25 in California alone, where initiative campaigns are often multi-million dollar undertakings. We have won historic victories, including passage of the nation’s first physician-assisted suicide law in Oregon in 1994, and the nation’s first medical marijuana law in California in 1996. We followed the medical marijuana win in California with initiative victories on the same issue in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Maine. We did the advertising for the initiative in Arizona that first established that state’s public financing of election campaigns.
In 2000, we managed and created the advertising for Proposition 36 in California, which appropriated $120 million annually for drug treatment and requires that drug possession offenders be sent to treatment instead of jail. That law now frees 35,000 people annually from jail terms. In 2004, we managed and created advertising for California Proposition 63, which places a 1% surtax on income over $1 million and uses the resulting annual revenues of over $1 billion for community mental health programs benefiting the homeless and school children.
As frequent ballot initiative campaign managers, we have supervised the public opinion research needed to create winning initiatives, we have coordinated the legal drafting of initiative texts with appropriate law firms, and we have overseen the signature drives necessary to qualify initiatives for the ballot. Once on the ballot, we have used our campaign management experience and advertising expertise to give these initiatives the best chance for victory on Election Day.
Zimmerman & Markman also provides provocative advertising to public interest organizations. Between 2006 and 2008, we created numerous full-page ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and many local newspapers for the national offices of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Working for other public interest groups, we have created powerful, memorable and effective TV and radio spots and newspaper ads on the right to choose, gay rights, civil liberties, opposition to the death penalty, voter registration, handgun violence prevention, health care reform, clean water, old growth forest protection, early childhood education, affordable housing, pesticide control, better nutrition, global warming and a host of others. The many public interest organizations we have worked for are listed elsewhere on this site.
Great advertising arises from smart research and incisive strategic thinking. We work with many of the nation’s leading polling firms, and we have the experience and expertise to direct their research in the service of provocative advertising. We gather information, refine messages, create great work, and then strategically target the advertising to the right audience using the most efficient medium. Our work is at the crossroads of progressive social issues and cutting edge advertising, a location where few of our competitors are comfortable or experienced.
We intentionally keep our company small so that Bill Zimmerman and Pacy Markman are both able to play a hands-on role in every campaign we undertake.