LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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WHY BLAST BURNETT?

It is unfortunate that Leo Burnett Co. is criticized and forced to apologize for an internal memo that, at least as reported in Advertising Age, appears to be nothing more than a programming preference for the advertising it places for McDonald's Corp. ("Gay group blasts Burnett on report for McDonald's," AA, April 21).

If the report had instead listed violence, sex or even graphic medical scenes as programming that is "becoming more difficult to avoid," would this have been a Page 2 story?

It would seem natural for an agency to try to pick the best environment possible for its clients' ads. I'm not sure that I would want to be responsible for placing a McDonald's commercial immediately following a murder on "NYPD Blue" or an emergency tracheotomy on "ER." I can't imagine a Big Mac would be too appealing to any audience at that point.

Therefore, to ask that programming that is likely to bother at least a sizable minority of the American viewing public be avoided seems only natural. That this report happens to deal with programming that is a current media "hot topic," and that Burnett by its apology capitulated to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, seem to be the only news here.

The language of the [Burnett] report, at least as reported in the article, hardly seems discriminatory. It's unfortunate that an agency can't make decisions for its client without being "blasted," and that such pressure, when it inevitably comes, merits Page 2 coverage and classification as "another embarrassing stumble" by Advertising Age.

David McQuaid

President-Creative Director

David McQuaid Design

Greenville, S.C.

Snapple's real problem

Does anyone involved with the Snapple calamity-buying for $1.7 billion and selling for $300 million is considered a calamity down here-actually use the product?

Did they ever try to buy it in a grocery store?

Reading about all the business problems with the brand over the past year really upset me to the point where I was seriously considering making a home video and sending it to the CEO.

I was going to open with, "I'm having a party at my house and we just need to pick up some beverages," and then go to the soda aisle and say, "Let's get some Snapple." Then I'd start picking it up bottle by bottle, and after about six or seven bottles were in my arms they would start crashing to the floor and breaking.

Then I would walk down to the Coke/Pepsi section and pick up a pack and say, "Maybe this is easier." Then I would pick up a twelve-pack and, finally, a case of cans and walk out of the store, closing with the tagline "Snapple doesn't have a marketing problem, it has a packaging problem."

The product is hard to buy. It's hard to handle. It can't be stacked in your home refrigerator. It's a pain to deal with . . .

The reason Snapple did so well in convenience stores is that those locations are almost totally geared to breaking down all packaging and putting the product into individual feeder slots for single sales.

If they want quantity sales, tell them to get quantity packaging.

Michael Joyce

President, Colonial Marketing Group

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Forgo the bombast

I was intrigued to notice in your article "Wrigley to compensate BBDO on performance" (AA, April 14) that, according to your paraphrase of a Wrigley official's remarks, of "three things he's willing to pay well for from an agency" under the new policy, the first is "bombastic creative."

Whatever for? I hope this approach to creative is not a growing trend among advertisers. I envision myself querying copy in the future: "Pompous enough?"

Or am I just not up on the latest slang? All I could find on the Internet was "bomb" equals "very good" in an online rap dictionary.

Karen Kassirer

Manager, editorial services

Ogilvy & Mather

New York

Gerber and the Vatican

It's both interesting and ironic that a few days after you published a portion of the Vatican's text on ethics in advertising ("Vatican stresses need for moral advertising," AA, March 10), Gerber Products Co. was called upon by the Federal Trade Commission to "put a lid on its ad claims," as The Wall Street Journal titled the story.

It seems that Gerber's exuberance in touting its baby food, unfortunately, had them stretch the truth a bit in terms of consumer preference for the Gerber brand. "Mother church" surely would point to this as a timely example of how we should reflect on and be aware of our moral responsibility to the profession and to the public.

Rich Ujvary

Associate director, ABC

New York

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