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1981 - 2006 Barbeau-Hutchings Advertising 25 year anniversary
By Alan Hutchings

Barbeau-Hutchings Advertising Inc. was started in 1981 by Deborah Barbeau and Alan Hutchings on the premise that there was a strong need for an advertising agency to be marketing and technically oriented; an advertising agency that understood the client’s markets and the client. By virtue of the fact that we started with a number of clients who were focused on analytical and semiconductor industries, there was a synergy between the two disciplines.

In 2006, this philosophy has not changed and, if anything, is more so today. We need to provide our clients with more service than ever. Since 1981 – 81% of all advertising agencies with billings under $25 million have gone out of business or merged into other agencies. In 1981, the primary focus of BHA and any advertising agency was communications. In 2006, it’s the same – communication is the key.

What has changed? What’s changed is how we go about communicating and how we go about producing the client’s desired results. In 1981, answering machines were 2 years old, the average answering machine cost $400 to $500. Today, no office or home would be without one, and the average cost is $30.

A new technology was on the horizon- called the fax machine. BHA acquired their first fax within the first three months of opening and the cost was $5,200. After we purchased our Fax in 1981 – we encountered a new problem – none of our clients had faxes. BHA had to take a forceful position with our clients to install fax machines so we could improve the communication loop. Our first computer was the IBM XT with 8K of memory and included the spreadsheet program, Lotus 123, with a DOS operating system. The IBM XT cost BHA $6,700. We used the XT to carry out a market survey for Philips/ASM prior to its launch of the PA2000 optical lithography system.

Apple Computer introduced the Apple 1 computer in 1976; BHA purchased its first MAC IIci during the summer of 1982. This and subsequent MAC computers changed the way advertising agencies functioned.

Wow, have things changed! In 1981, there was not one business that BHA dealt with, that had call forwarding or voice messaging. Over the last 20 years, most businesses have gone to automatic answering systems. In the last year, we have seen a reversal of that trend. Companies are finding out that being customer friendly is the most important attribute that they can provide.

In 1981, BHA used to charge $8,000 to $10,000 for a one-page, four-color ad. Our costs were higher at that time because labor and film and separation costs were 70% of the charge. In 2006, BHA still charges an average of $8000 for the same ad. Wow, how some things never change!

In 1981 in order to produce a brochure, ad, or data sheet, a mechanical artist laid out the design and had to be proficient in typesetting. When copy was sent to the type house, it was from typewritten copy (Word Processors were just coming into vogue). The type house had to add the copy to the typesetting equipment. This was a tedious process that took one to two weeks. The brochures were sent by postal service that had just inaugurated express mail (UPS and Fed Ex were only ground at that time).

When we concepted and designed a brochure or ad we would never put copy in – too expensive to spec-type without getting copy approval.

In 2006 our clients can immediately see the design and copy in PDF form via the internet.

Some of the events that occurred over the past 25 years, starting in 1981.

National Headlines:

  • Ronald Reagan takes the oath of office as the 40th president of the United States.
  • Aids is first identified.
  • Britain and Argentina at war over the Falkland Islands.
  • Chariots of Fire – Oscar for best picture
  • Opening of Broadway Plays – 42nd Street and CATS
  • Clemson is NCAA Football Champs
  • Super Bowl – Oakland 27 – Philadelphia 10
  • Indiana is NCAA basketball champions
  • NBA – Boston Celtics over the Houston Rockets (4 – 2)
  • New York Islanders – Stanley Cup Winners
  • First solar powered aircraft flew the English Channel - 210 pound Solar Challenger
  • John McEnroe, (men) and Tracy Austin (woman) win the US Tennis Open
  • Ted Turner, Time Magazine’s Man of-the-Year



30 Controls Drive | Shelton, CT 06484 | Telephone: (203) 926-0040 | Fax: (203) 926-0092
71 Gulch Lane | Silver City, NM 88061 | Telephone: (505) 313-7504
Email: alanh@bhaadvertising.com