There might be a few things wrong with Major League Baseball, e.g., labor problems, egotistical athletes, a weak commissioner's office, etc., but to state that Phil Knight of Nike is right in his assessment that "MLB has a ways to go to get its act together" ("The trouble with baseball," AA, March 17) is hypocritical at best.
Did you forget that this is the same guy who did the same exact thing with the Dallas Cowboys [bypass a sports-league sponsorship in favor of linking with a powerful team franchise] as Adidas did with the New York Yankees?
One more item: The next time you opine that Phil Knight is "right," please don't forget to mention his sweatshops in Asia.
NBA once like MLB
Jeff Jensen's report on Major League Baseball's marketing woes ("MLB faces opening day marketing woes," AA, March 10) only begins to scratch the surface of longstanding MLB problems.
MLB refuses to learn from the NBA experience of the mid-to-late '70s. As the person who supervised Burson-Marsteller's marketing public relations effort on behalf of the NBA in 1977-78, [I note] numerous parallels.
In 1977, the NBA did not have a central marketing function, nor did it have a commissioner, in Lawrence O'Brien, with the strength and marketing savvy necessary to induce positive change.
Today, MLB has no commissioner of any kind and a group of owners whose avarice prevents them from truly competing for the entertainment dollar on more than a market-by-market basis. There is no revenue sharing, forcing smaller market teams into a "bind" that can only result in bad teams, failing attendence and eventually, relocation to another market.
If MLB is going to be successful in its marketing efforts, it has to take the "same step back" as the NBA did nearly 20 years ago; hire a strong, proactive commissioner who understands the symbiotic relationship between management and labor, and who has the respect of all the owners and players. Until that happens, Mr. Murphy will continue to fight uphill battles with sponsors, advertisers and fans.
Stephen M. Schechter
Lecturer, Sports Public Relations
School of Continuing Education
New York University
Where is the author?
I was very interested in contacting the author of a recent Forum article, but part of his bio was cut off. Could you please complete the information for John W. Templeton ("Ad spending slights black consumers," AA, March 17). An e-mail address would be very helpful also.
Kateria C. Niambi
Publisher, Pride & Joy Magazine
Mr. Templeton is executive editor, of San Francisco-based Griot, the African-American, African and Caribbean business daily published by Electron Access. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No fan of USP
Michael Bungey's Forum article about Bates and USP ("USP's benefit still stands tall in noisy 1990s," AA, March 3) was a hoot; a classic of spin, worthy of modern-day political campaigning.
First he spades up Rosser Reeves' hoary holy grail, dusts it off, and diminishes it with new-speak adjectives. Then he further expropriates USP by using the imperial "we" ("We define Bates creativity as `USP Creativity . . ."')
Next, to compound his felony, he ascribes USP to Wieden and Goodby by way of Nike and "Got milk?" Has this abominable snowman no shame?
Somewhere in his grave Reeves must be spinning. While one of his successors flogs reconstituted bushwa courtesy of a free plug in Ad Age. It'd be funny in a ham-fisted way, if it weren't so journalistically sad.
Westlake Village, Calif.
Mr. Day is co-founder of Chiat/Day, now TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.
In "Glaxo contacts agencies about $90 million media account" (March 17, P. 2), Rockett, Burkhead, Lewis & Winslow, Raleigh, N.C., is among Glaxo Wellcome's roster agencies, handling corporate advertising.
In "MasterCard CEO exits amid agency review" (March 17, P. 12), MasterCard International appointed Robert Selander president of its global operations. Also, Nicholas Utton reports to Alan Heuer, president of the U.S. region.
In "ADSmart taps Parade exec for ad sales" (March 17, P. 36), Bobbie Halfen, newly appointed VP-advertising sales at ADSmart, previously held job responsibilities at Parade only, not with the launch of React's Web site.
In "When it comes to interactive work, agencies lose out" (March 10, P. S-4), the 1995 survey on agency compensation was done by the Association of National Advertisers.
In "Shops choose independence despite buyers' deep pockets" (AA, March 10, P. S-17), Avalanche Systems had $5 million in revenue, not billings.