Re "Scoring Whitey Points With Blacks" (May, Letter From the Editor): As the CD at an urban multicultural ad agency, I think you're right about political correctness and the fear of offending in ads with people of color. But the problem still lies with the state of creativity in advertising. It's sad when so-called brilliant creatives don't have a clue how to communicate to a diverse audience. They're supposedly so hip and urban, but everything they create is from their limited circle of awareness, as they try desperately to see who can shock the most. In fact, most things that are cool or that have been adapted to major urban markets, like earrings and shaved or close-cut hair, did not come from today's advertising creatives. The way they act, you'd think it did. This young-white-male perspective makes the advertising industry seem less valuable. More marketers are looking for other ways to make an impact. In the meantime, so many talented people of color remain untapped. But what is this bolder stance that advertisers should adopt? Should they be more insensitive or practice more tokenism?
Steve Climons, Creative Director
Crossover Creative Group, San Francisco
Ban Outdoor Advertising?
That was a cool piece on the Billboard Liberation Front ("Altered States," June), and I also liked your related Letter From the Editor. I agree, Jack Napier is not a white knight. I'd love to see a survey of your readership on the question of eliminating all outdoor advertising. I think many ad folk secretly loathe outdoor. (Remember Ogilvy's plan to be a billboard vigilante after retiring?) I'd have a hard time telling an individual client not to run billboards, if his competition is doing it, but I'd support an overall ban so that no one could do it. Side point, re your editorial: Yes, you could paint your house fuchsia. Few people do, so it's hardly a problem. But if the World Fuchsia Society started offering big bucks to willing homeowners, the world would get real ugly real fast. That's what's happened with billboards.
Tom O'Connor, Copywriting Student
Creative Circus, Atlanta
007 With Too Much Time
I just finished reading Warren Berger's "Altered States," regarding the "work" of the Billboard Liberation Front, and have come to three conclusions:
1) Jack Napier gets off on living out his 007 spy fantasies.
2) His "culture-jamming activists" have way too much time on their hands.
3) I'm glad I live in Syracuse, where life may not be as exciting as in San Francisco or New York, but at least I'm not exposed to messages from self-important hypocrites who vandalize property in the name of social justice.
Sue Stiles, Senior Copywriter
Sage Marketing Communications, Syracuse, N.Y.
Repugnant and Juvenile
I'm not a big fan of attorneys and have never written in defense of one - especially one employed by a cigarette company - but I found your cavalier reply to Mr. Blynn's claim of copyright infringement (We've Got Mail, June) not only repugnant, but juvenile. Copyright infringement is a serious issue, no matter what you may feel about the copyright holder. Responding to Mr. Blynn with such a `screw you,' smart-ass attitude gives credence to the practice of illegally using copyrighted works and is irresponsible for a creative industry publication to do. Shame on you.
John Sharpe President
Sharpe & Associates Artist Representatives, Los Angeles
Creativity neither condones nor practices copyright theft. As Mr. Blynn knows, however, the legislation governing copyright issues allows for something called `fair use,' an umbrella term that includes satire and parody. The U.S. tobacco industry is mired in litigation that threatens its very existence. That an R.J. Reynolds lawyer chooses to bully a magazine for publishing a visual joke seems like a curious allocation of legal resources to us. - Ed.
Though the competition was blistering, The Worst Name for an Xtreme Deodorant goes to Old Spice for High Endurance Red Zone. Red zone? Not only is that hopelessly tach-y, it conjures up a vivid image of the kind of festering skin irritation that makes dermatologists giggle. And get this reckless headline: "Don't worry about that odd feeling under your arms. It's called dryness." No, Old Spice, it's called eczema, and we don't want any, thanks.