LAUDS LEVINE'S SUGGESTIONS; FROM CHILKO SURVIVORS; EXPRESS TIE-IN A 'GIMMICK'; CIGARETTES A SPECIAL CASE

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I am writing in response to the May 9 article "Ad biz growing anemic? Inject some new blood," by Harold Levine. Having been a public relations/advertising major at a historically black university, I found the commentary particularly relevant to my experiences and interests. However, I was disappointed by the omission of my alma mater, Hampton University, from the list of major black universities to be contacted. Not only is Hampton ranked 14th among Southern universities, its advertising program has also produced two Four A's scholarship recipients within the last four years.

The article presented some excellent ideas about invigorating the industry and opening the doors of advertising to African-Americans. In fact, Mr. Levine's five suggestions described several of the same influences which changed and shaped my career as a student at Hampton University. The first was a diversified curriculum and a staff of professors who offered a real-life perspective on advertising. The second was an opportunity to expand upon my interests outside of the classroom. Specifically, I was nominated and accepted for a five-day intensive fellowship program sponsored by the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation. I also participated in The White House Internship Program. In the spring, when Grey Advertising held interviews on our campus, I was prepared both academically and extra-curricularly to pursue a position with a national advertising agency.

I am one of many students and recent graduates who might not have discovered advertising without the help of dedicated professors and solid extracurricular experiences. The most talented students regardless of their race must be cultivated through education and opportunity if they are to contribute to a competitive industry such as advertising. The five suggestions recommended by Mr. Levine will provide the foundation for a change which offers distinct advantages in creativity and innovation to its advocates. More importantly, such change will open the doors to a race whose Spike Lees, Maya Angelous and Colin Powells have been proving themselves for more than a century.

African-Americans and other racial groups do not think of themselves as "minorities" but as individuals who are prepared to compete fairly, to make valuable contributions, and to excel amongst the most talented of all people.

Lauren Summers

Mitchelleville, Md.

This is in response to the letter to the editor from Larry Goldstein about the Chilko accident that tragically took the life of his father (AA, June 20). We were all on the Chilko trip with Bob Goldstein.

Larry Goldstein's letter was very thoughtful and accurate about the need for care, preparation and safety precautions (particularly helmets) on trips like the Chilko trip. Everyone who survived the accident would agree completely with most of his points, but we do need to point out important inaccuracies in the letter.

Bob Goldstein was aware before the trip, at and during the trip, that Chilko River rafting was scheduled for the final day of the trip. The trip always consisted of some fishing and some rafting, both participated in by Bob Goldstein.

The final day was always planned as rafting for everyone. However, on the final day, anyone on the trip who did not wish to raft the Chilko to our final destination had the opportunity to be transported to that destination by van. The van, which carried our personal gear to the final destination, was still in camp and available as alternative transportation when we boarded the raft. Instead, everyone chose to complete the trip on the raft.

Another inaccuracy in the letter pertains to Mr. Wolfe. On the final day on the river, the change from two rafts to one raft was made by the guide, not Mr. Wolfe, who in fact objected to the change to one raft. No one on the trip, including specifically Mr. Wolfe, had notice of this change prior to the announcement of the guide on the final day on the Chilko River.

Joe Morrison, Earl Madsen

Jack Collins, Arthur Zeikel

As president of Women in Community Service, I am outraged at the insensitivity and disregard that Express/The Limited has demonstrated for the hard and real work this organization has done around the country for the past 30 years. I find it extremely distasteful that Express would capitalize on the misfortune of thousands of disadvantaged women to make a "quick buck" and use them in an advertising gimmick ("Jeans link to charity is labeled a poor fit," AA, May 16).

I understand from the Advertising Age article that a private agreement is being negotiated. Yet this statement seems to be news to WICS. ... As a WICS volunteer and member of the National Council of Negro Women, I will not support Express/The Limited until this situation is resolved.

I salute Advertising Age and writer Steven Colford for bringing this situation to light and exposing Express/The Limited's manipulation of this charitable organization.

Gertrude Peele

President

Women in Community Service

Jacksonville, Fla.

James W. Johnson, the chairman-CEO of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., complains about an imaginary "antismoking industry" picking on his beloved Joe Camel (Letters, AA, June 20). He warns that "what has happened over the past three years with Camel ... can happen to any product in America."

Not so. No product other than cigarettes (which for the time being remain legal and virtually uncontrolled) causes disease, death and human suffering on such a massive scale. And that's when the product is used as intended. Cigarettes kill more Americans than illegal drugs, alcohol, AIDS, murders and auto accidents combined. And Mr. Johnston wants us to think cigarettes ought to enjoy the same protection as legitimate products.

As a leader in an industry which has absurdly denied any causal relationship between smoking and cancer, or even that smoking is addictive, he asks us to take his word for it when he states, "The truth is we don't want kids to smoke ..."

Quite frankly, I don't believe anything the tobacco industry tells us.

Charles H. Finney

VP-creative director

The Finney Group

Covington, Ky.

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