LOWE ON MLB SPLIT

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In the article "MLB taps magic of McGwire" (AA, Sept. 14), the subheadline -- "His feat fodder for ads; Lowe out on account" -- unfairly implies Lowe & Partners/SMS was dismissed as agency for Major League Baseball Properties. In fact, Major League Baseball and Lowe & Partners/SMS mutually agreed to part ways last March for financial reasons.

In the three and a half years we handled Major League Baseball and developed the "What a Game" campaign, our advertising was cited for creative excellence and business effectiveness. In particular, the 1997 "What a Game" creative won a bronze Effie and took home the gold in its category for the Spirit Awards.

The record needs to be set straight since these accomplishments were the result of a lot of hard work by many people at the agency.

We continue to be extremely proud of our work for Major League Baseball.

Bill Brooks

Exec VP, Group Account Director

Lowe & Partners/SMS

New York

Garfield on target

The Letter to the Editor from [R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s] Fran Creighton (AA, Aug. 24) attempting to excoriate Bob Garfield would be laughable if it weren't so despicable. Ms. Creighton chides Mr. Garfield for anti-tobacco bias and implies he's not a good parent because she and the other marketers at R.J. Reynolds don't leave their "parental responsibilities at home" when those workers fashion the Camel ad campaigns.

One of the ad campaigns was the "Mighty Tasty" ad campaign that Mr. Garfield rightly criticized ("Cigarette ads revive the spirit of Joe Camel," AA, July 27) for its focus on the young and the ads' obvious satire of a legally required cigarette warning label.

Ms. Creighton calls the derision of the warning label [in the ads] "humor" and argues other products use humor and color in their campaigns so Mr. Garfield is unfair.

Why pick on tobacco ads? Because other products don't sicken, maim, injure or kill hundreds of thousands of people, that's why. When was the last time anybody heard that corn flakes filled the cancer ward at Sloan-Kettering?

Mr. Garfield's review was perceptive and needs no defense.

Thomas C. Shanahan

Attorney

Wilmette, Ill.

Hispanic DM `myths'

Re: "Few direct efforts target Hispanics" (Special Report, AA, Aug. 24): This article leaves the wrong impression about direct marketing to Hispanics.

It is absurd for the individuals interviewed to claim there are "hot buttons that work," "adaptation of English-language pieces doesn't work," "direct marketing efforts must account for cultural nuances," "bilingual mailings are important," "list companies don't have enough names to do a proper sampling," "without pre-qualified leads a very high percentage of samples and direct mail don't reach the target."

The fact is that many direct marketers have launched successfully to the Hispanic market. They are the smart marketers who are able to distinguish real direct marketing knowledge from the myths.

Vesna Besarabic

Managing Director

Hispanic Direct Marketing

New York

New `iron curtain'

Rance Crain had several important columns lately and I believe they are leading to a common conclusion, an almost frightening conclusion.

His piece about the problems he had with his debit card and the time he had to waste getting things straightened out ("In the dog days of summer, customer service takes vacation," Viewpoint, AA, Aug. 24) could have been either amusing or annoying if it wasn't reflective of a problem shared by tens of millions of people.

What he is seeing is the result of a wall, a commercial iron curtain that has been thrown up around America's great companies. It costs money to deal with consumers so let's shut them off . . .

In his [1984] book "Up the Organization," Avis boss Robert Townsend said it would be a good idea for every chief executive to get outside his company and try calling in. It would also be a good idea if they went shopping at least once a month, pulled out a few coupons themselves, dealt with some of the day to day problems of living.

How can anybody evaluate something unless they do what Rance Crain did about his debit card, instead of calling in his assistant to take care of the job? When great brands were being built, there were leaders who boasted that they understood or had worked in every job in the country. Now we have people who have never been in a factory or sold a can of peas.

Thomas Whitehead

Merrill & Whitehead

Pound Ridge, N.Y

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