VIEWPOINT: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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No peril in Harmony plan

Please lower your red flags. Content of American television is not about to be controlled by corporate advertisers ("Un-seamly," AA, Feb. 3; "New TV show producer offers advertiser input," AA, Jan. 27).

Harmony Entertainment's intention is not to "blur the lines" of editorial content/

programming/advertising. It is instead to find original programming that is geared to the sponsor's customers.

Our goal is to align advertising agencies/sponsors with "good original programming ideas." (We think 27 versions of "Friends" is enough.) Better programs attract viewers.

Hallmark has raised the bar of quality programs without offending the consumer. We aspire to do the same.

"The Inspectors," our first project for Showtime, is not about the U.S. Postal Service. Its intention is not to sell more stamps. It's an entertaining action/drama about postal inspectors, a law enforcement agency with a 98% conviction rate.

All our projects are geared toward the target audience of the product but are not a 60-minute commercial.

We are trying to work with quality program creators, advertising agencies, sponsors and broadcasters to do one thing . . . benefit the consumer.

Warren Weideman

President, Harmony Entertainment

Los Angeles

`Spy' and David Pecker

Spy Magazine published a vile, churlish and unfair article in the April issue calling David Pecker [president-CEO and chief operating officer, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines] an A-hole.

David is my friend. He's one of a handful of true stand-up people in the magazine publishing business. You can do business with him without lawyers and contracts. He returns phone calls. He doesn't hide behind martinets. You can have a frank discussion with David and it won't appear on "Page Six" [the New York Post's gossip page].

Yes, David is aggressive. That's why his company is prospering. That's why the folks at Hachette got good raises this year. It also has a lot to do with the fact that David has created over 100 jobs in the past several years (net of any staff cuts).

One of the reasons Spy gives for despising David is that he used to be an accountant. Wow! Spy must think that Herman Melville and T.S. Eliot are A-Holes, too.

Spy gets particularly exercised over David's belief that it's his ultimate responsibility and right to cut an article if he deems it inappropriate. Isn't this the venerable "buck stops here" philosophy? Is Harry Truman on the A-hole list too?

Kent Brownridge

Senior VP-General Manager

Wenner Media

New York

Absurd commercials

When [Rance Crain] laments the craziness and utter absurdity of so many current TV commercials (i.e., animated talking fish, dancing frogs and ants and the like), he is 100% correct when he says that the lunatics have taken over the asylum ("Miller sacrilege latest to ignore what the product's all about," AA, Jan. 20.)

After almost 30 years of measuring the sales effectiveness or non-effectiveness of TV strategies and commercials for many of the nation's largest consumer product advertisers, we know that the only standard for judging a commercial is the question of whether it will increase sales of the product or service.

Why do so many copywriters feel they are "artists" or act like would-be comedy writers rather than professionals trying to sell a product? Selling is a noble profession, and this is what clients pay them to do.

Reginald B. Collier

CEO, Research Systems Corp.

Evansville, Ind.

Brady on Fairchild

Please let James Brady know that this is, in my opinion, an excellent piece of writing ("John Fairchild picks a `ford' at his last fashion show," AA, Feb. 3).

I do not know Mr. Fairchild, have never met him and reading between the lines do not want to meet him. What Mr. Brady did accomplish, in a brief sketch, is to bring an individual to life; the good and the bad.

Good writing (particularly in daily and weekly publications) is all too scarce, and I just wanted to thank him.

Alfred M. King

Saddle River, N.J.

Corrections

In a Hot Spot on Seagram Americas (Feb. 17, P. 3), Grey Advertising, New York, created the five-page insert for Captain Morgan spiced rum.

In Comings & Goings (Feb. 3, P. 37), Joe Palladino did not retire from Korey Kay & Partners, Miami, but is consulting on marketing and the Internet from New York.

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