The latest editorials and commentary in the May 19 Advertising Age exhorting broadcasters to air more public service announcements has become insufferable . . .
In her Forum article ("Education should be sole purpose of PSAs") Ruth Wooden [president of the Advertising Council] sternly limits "true" public service announcements only to education, which is disqualified (according to her) if the educational information is combined with network promo or sponsors' messages.
Really? It seems to me truthful information is still truthful information, no matter who may provide it or whether it comes from someone who also has commercial messages to offer.
If it is more cost-effective for broadcasters to combine informational messages with commercial messages, then we will get more of the information out to audiences. This is a good thing, right? Or perhaps Ms. Wooden simply cannot tolerate a commercial purpose in providing useful information.
That anti-commercial bias seems at the heart of a lot of the complaining about the refusal of the "ethically challenged" broadcasters to provide a lousy 60 seconds of prime time a night to provide non-commercial messages to help "the inner-city kids."
Of course, the broadcasters (not those exhorting them) will be expected to pay for the time. And the broadcasters (as well as the rest of us) must assume, without the need for inconvenient and expensive research that demonstrates it, that these messages will actually help "the kids . . ."
Here's a bizarre thought: Why don't those of you who really want PSAs on broadcast network TV (for "the kids" or whatever) just get together, raise the funds and pay for the ads yourselves? Hmmmmm? I might be willing to donate, but I want to see what the messages are first.
Spectrum Technology Service
FDR piece hits home
I wish H.L. Mencken were still around so he could put all the balderdash surrounding the Roosevelt Memorial in its proper place. [the May 12 "Brady's Bunch" column] is a damned fine substitute, though. Thanks for writing it.
I suppose we can be grateful for two things: First, there is a memorial to FDR; if nothing else, it might get some kid to read a book about him.
Second, they don't have holograms of, say, Fala barking cutely. (And I suspect the man himself would have gotten a big laugh from all the posturing and hand-wringing.)
William J. Garry
Editor in chief, Bon Appetit
There's a current TV spot produced for Castrol motor oil that shows three motorists making extremely dangerous driving decisions, such as foolish passing, running through an intersection barely ahead of a bus, etc. And the spot ends with the driver apparently running head-on into an oncoming truck.
The purpose of the ad seems to lie in convincing us you can cheat death through use of Castrol motor oil.
Am I the only one appalled by the stupidity and irresponsibility of this ad?
As a McDonald's stockholder, last week I learned that "My Size Meal" doesn't replace the "Extra Value Meal," and that "Campaign 55" is really a euphemism for one discounted sandwich after another, and that Arch Deluxe isn't dead, it just seems that way, and that the 100 million Beanie Babies public relations nightmare didn't do anything for store profits, just sold more toys.
At a time when McDonald's same-store sales are in the dumps, Burger King, with the Whopper leading the way, is going gangbusters.
Hey, McDonald's; it's the product, stupid!
Park Ridge, Ill.