Cote & D’Ambrosio is a marketing/ consulting/communications firm that began as little more than two guys working on a computer set up over a couple of sawhorses in D’Ambrosio’s garage nearby. Nowadays, they occupy the historic Jabez Bullock house (ca. 1839, legend has it this is actually the 2nd house that Bullock built) on Brown Street in downtown Wickford, Rhode Island. They also have offices in Washington, D.C., and in Florida.
The firm was founded on May 15, 1999-the Ides of March, which does not bode very well for good luck-but Eric Cote, one of the founding partners, says they have not experienced any bad luck thus far. Eric Cote is a communications specialist who has worked with a lot of famous political figures. Kenneth D’Ambrosio is an award-winning advertising executive and professional photographer, who has been the mastermind behind campaigns such as the U.S. Army’s “Be All You Can Be”, AT & T’s “Reach Out and Touch Someone”, and Kodak’s “Times of Your Life”. He had mostly retired by 1999 and was running a small advertising agency, when he and Cote met at Quonset, Rhode Island, where both of them were working to promote the redevelopment of the old Navy base there. The two of them talked, found out they had a lot in common, and that D’Ambrosio was bored in his retirement and that Cote had always dreamed of running an ad agency. Years ago D’Ambrosio had Revlon, the makeup giant, as a client; took photographs of a model at Newport; and fell in love with Rhode Island in the process. Eventually he and his wife bought a house in nearby Saunderstown, and it was in the garage of that house that he and Cote put an extra door over two sawhorses to make a desk, set up a computer on it, and began to work together.
Triumph Out of Tragedy
One of the pair’s first successes was born out of a tragic situation-it had been a few years since the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and they were working with a manufacturer that made different kinds of window coatings. Everyone remembers that Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the fireman carrying the child killed by flying glass in the day care center. Cote and D’Ambrosio received permission to use that iconic photograph as a stylized logo, and worked with the manufacturer to promote specialized safety coatings for large windows specifically for situations like day care centers and other areas where flying glass could be a hazard, such as hurricane prone regions. The firm then worked with officials to make it a mandatory part of building code that plate glass windows be covered with the safety film to prevent serious injuries and deaths in the future.
Little Rhody Milk Campaign
Since those early days spent working out of D’Ambrosio’s garage, the firm has become widely recognized and has grown at the rate of about 50% each year, according to D’Ambrosio. As stated earlier in this article, they occupy an old house downtown now, with a lawn that is always perfectly manicured, and there are always gorgeous flowers growing along the white wooden fence in front of the property. It is so stately and unassuming that one does not realize that so much is going on inside. One of Cote & D’Ambrosio’s most successful campaigns has been the Little Rhody milk carton, which was designed to promote dairy farms in South County, Rhode Island. On the carton is a whimsical drawing of a black and white cow, on which the biggest spot is shaped like the state of Rhode Island. All of the local supermarkets have been stocking this milk now for a few years, and the campaign has brought a lot of attention to the local farmers. I myself often purchase this milk-it only comes in the carton, so the cow can be on it-because I like to see the cow, and it makes me feel like I’m doing something nice. Recently I have also been seeing (and purchasing) Little Rhody All-Natural Eggs, which are laid by hens on South County farms.
For an in-depth article that was published in the North Kingstown Standard Times, click here.
For Cote & D’Ambrosio’s own Web site, click here.