What connects Johnny Damon, the new centerfielder for the New York Yankees, and Thomas Marino, CEO of J .H. Cohn, the No. 1 accounting firm in the Northeast? Actually, it is not what they have in common, but whom they have in common: none other than Joe Torre, long-time manager of the Yankees. He is Damon's manager and the spokesperson for J.H. Cohn in a recently unveiled advertising campaign.

The six-ad series is running in national business and key trade publications. The ads are also on the side of outdoor telephones in upscale residential neighborhoods, and commuter rail lines originating in suburban New York and New Jersey. As a matter of fact, there is one on the side of the pay telephone outside our offices at One State Street Plaza in lower Manhattan.

The ads are unified by the theme; "How Are You Managing?" Torre is featured with keywords representing the firm's technical experience within core growth areas, including corporate governance, Sarbanes-Oxley, and business investigation services.

Sneaker companies have always had sports figures in their advertising. The Big Four uses pro golfers extensively in their advertising. And now, regional firms have entered the fray. It would seem that Joe Torre is a pretty safe figure to be associated with J.H. Cohn. But I wonder, as more accounting firms go this route, where will it take the profession? Will there be multi-million dollar endorsement contacts with morality clauses which college athletes sign before they go pro? Maybe the accounting firms will just sign coaches and managers. But even then, there have been coaches and managers that badmouthed players, threw chairs on a basketball court, and have had terrible losing streaks. There is only one Joe Torre out there, and right now he is on J.H. Cohn's team. Or should I say at least until he declares free agency?

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