Updated: 10/27 — We had previously indicated that Palmer Advertising was involved in the media purchasing of Stand for Marriage Maine/National Organization for Marriage. This was based, in part, on the statement of Kristen Amador who insisted that she was acting as an employee and the confirmation by Palmer that Ms. Amador is the same person listed on their website as their media director. Moreover, in his email, Palmer never indicated that his firm was not a participant. In contrast, he claimed no knowledge of the subject campaign/ That statement, which has a different meaning, was included in the original article.
Drew Palmer assured me, in a telephone conversation, that Amador is an ad hoc employee and that his firm has no participation in this campaign. I take him at his word. Therefore, I have removed references to Palmer Advertsing in this article.
The Palmer firm remains a customer of Amador. Perhaps they will reconsider providing financial support to an individual who is actively involved in stripping us of the right to marry. I am in the process of contacting all Amador customers in that regard.
Criswell Associates and Amador Media are making money as facilitators for those trying to strip gay taxpayers of civil rights. Approximately $1.5 million has flowed into Criswell Associates from Stand for Marriage Maine. Exactly how this small, obscure agency found its way to Maggie Gallagher remains unknown.
Not much is known about Bill Criswell. He is about 60 years old. He seems to have attended, but not graduated from, the University of Iowa. He is a trustee or “Regent” of Holy Names University. Bill Criswell's personal email address is email@example.com. Billings and any other clients of Criswell are unknown. Criswell may be straight or gay; married or single. No photo can be found. Criswell Advertising's address appears to be 58 Maiden Lane, 2nd Floor, San Francisco. SFMM is paying a company called “Mar/Com Services, Inc.” at the same address and at 268 Bush Street, #290. I have no idea why SFMM has two different addresses which are just three blocks apart. The company's one-page website consists of an untitled streaming video clip along with “Our website is under construction, but feel free to contact us with any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org.” No address or phone number are listed. According to archive.org, this has been the state of the site for about two years.
I am unable to find any indication that Criswell has ever won any awards nor can I find any mentions of Criswell in any of the trade publications. Neither Criswell Associates nor Mar/Con Services, Inc. nor anything like that are registered by the California Secretary of State. Whether Criswell is a corporation or sole proprietorship is also unknown. Criswell Associates seems to be best known for producing the dreadful “Gathering Storm” advertisement.
Amador Media functions as a “virtual agency” for Criswell. Amador consists of an amateurish website, a telephone number (in Kristin Amador's home) and a PO Box in Walnut Creek, CA. Essentially, Amador is Criswell's back office or the agency's agency. Amador provides a full range of services including buying the media. Other “clients” of Amador include: Digital Chocolate, Dwyer Productions, Franklin Templeton Investments, J. Stokes & Associates, Hill Holliday, Limelife, MacKenzie Communications, Madison Sproul & Partners, Motive Marketing Group, Inc., Palmer Advertising, Peet's Coffee, RBG Marketing, Inc., Robert Anthony, San Francisco Symphony and SwiftPartners.
Bill Criswell is quoted on the Amador website:
Has anyone told you how GREAT you are lately!!! Sometimes in the middle of things I forget.
In a telephone interview, Kristin Amador confirmed that she is doingthe media purchasing for NOM/SFMM on behalf of Palmer Advertising. Before she “abruptly terminated” the conversation she also said:
Look, I handle what they give me to handle. I am just doing my job. I am just doing my job.
We have no idea how much additional money has been pumped into these firms by National Organization for Marriage. In summary, a group of people in the very gay San Francisco area are all making money off of an endeavor of bigotry. It's just business or I'm just doing my job are meaningless expressions. These firms and these people have crossed a moral line. I remain suspect that some of this money is flowing back to National Organization for Marriage or its unprincipled principals. It would not surpise me at all if there were some GLBT people working on the SFMM/NOM accounts.
More than anything else, these folks are putting air to the dog whistle that gay people are out to “recruit” children. These people know all about John Briggs and Anita Bryant. Sadly, they also know about the murdered Harvey Milk and his struggles for equality in California. Indeed, the offices of Palmer and Criswell are within walking distance of the Castro. None of that seems to matter in the quest to make a few bucks.
I, and hopefully others, are here to tell them that this is blood money!