Over the years, Dan Wieden's work has inspired hordes of freshly scrubbed creatives to get into the business. Now his words have inspired me to get out of it (Quote, p. 6, October). Here is a man who professes to "hate advertising." What in the name of Bill Bernbach has his agency been producing for the last 15 years? Chocolate chip cookies? The cure for cancer? All this talk of "sharing" is about as believable as Charlton Heston's toupee. Mr. Wieden sounds as if he is on some sort of crusade to spread enlightenment among the huddled, unwashed masses by raising their consciousness and uplifting their spirits. But no amount of New Age babble can disguise the fact he's just peddling a bunch of hideously overpriced sneakers made in Third World sweatshops.
Mr. Wieden decries advertising that is "manipulative." But what do you call pretending to identify with your target audience while cynically playing on their emotions and aspirations? Sure, this so-called "anti-advertising" may garner breathless coverage in the pages of Creativity and sweep the awards shows. But, in the end, it is far more devious, dishonest and deceptive than anything starring Mr. Whipple or Madge the Manicurist.
Speaking of awards shows, if advertising is so utterly awash in mediocrity, why does his agency continue to enter them with mind-numbing regularity? At this point, whom could they possibly need to impress? Their clients? Their colleagues? Themselves?
But I don't mean to single out Mr. Wieden for criticism. The sad truth is, this sort of condescending attitude - bred by intellectual myopia and insular thinking - is rampant in this industry. Which is why I am leaving my current job for one that is more rewarding and honorable - like, say, raising chinchillas.
Steve Watkins, Ex-Art Director
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Channeling Patrick Bateman
I too am offended by Nike's "Horror" ad (What's the Big Idea?, November). In the ad, a young woman is preparing for bed in a quiet lakeside cabin when she is confronted by a hockey mask-wearing maniac wielding a chainsaw. This maniac then proceeds to chase this woman out into the night. Because she is in superior condition (or maybe it's the shoes), she's able to outrun her attacker, who is left in a breathless heap.
This ad is extremely disturbing; it perpetuates many hateful myths and NBC should be applauded for pulling it.
The first myth I'd like to debunk is that all of us maniacs wear hockey masks. Some of us wear ski masks, nylons, or in my case, an imported cashmere pashmina.
The second myth is that all maniacs carry chainsaws. Chainsaws are loud, rather messy as a murder weapon and, quite frankly, harmful to trees.
Thirdly, there's the myth that we only attack people in rural areas. Some of the best maniacs I know live and work in major metropolitan areas. I, for one, no matter how easy a target relaxed people on vacation at a quiet lake can be, am not about to deal with mosquitoes. And have you ever tried to get a decent latte in the country?
The fourth and perhaps most disturbing thing about this Nike ad is that it portrays maniacs as lazy and out of shape. I work out four times a week, run, bike and play in a local volleyball club (Go Spikers!). Dismembering, hauling and disposing of bodies is strenuous work. Why do you think we start our careers with small animals and work our way up to humans? It takes rigorous training and dedication to do what we do. Nike, you should be ashamed.
Jeff Ericksen, Creative Director
In the November Work section, the Snickers "Voting Booth" spot should have been attributed to BBDO West; the credits for the XScream spot should have included director Whitey Bel-Air III and DP Chris Conway; and the Campaign credits should have included production/animation house Spontaneous Combustion.