James River's animated spot for Quilted Northern created a cacophony of complaints from the quilting community. The uproar? The women in the spot were crafting toilet paper with giant knitting needles when real quilting is done with teensy sewing needles. This startling error made its way to the Internet and chat rooms, where quilters picked up the thread and needled the TP maker mercilessly. More than a thousand women and two men pummeled James River with e-mail, some "with blue language that I didn't normally associate with quilters," says John Burke, dir. of gov't affairs. Others called and wrote. James River responded with an apology and ordered DDB/NY to re-edit the spot with correct needles. The new spot is on the air, and Burke is getting thank you e-mail from quilters who say they will be loyal customers. "It's, like, cool," Burke says. "We did the right thing. As a consumer products company, one can't ignore consumers."
It's all a bunch of horse pucky
Sports biz gossip bets Major League Baseball Enterprises prez Greg Murphy will be out now that ex-Toronto Blue Jays boss Paul Beeston is in as MLB prez. Given the chance to publicly back Murphy last week, MLB acting commish Bud Selig said it was hard to defend someone "when you're not really sure where the speculation is coming from . . . We have an organization . . . that Paul will be intimately involved in, and Greg Murphy is its first president." Murphy debunks gossip that he's about to be called out. "The best I can determine," he says, "is that it's all a bunch of horse pucky."
We'd like to thank the Academy
Commercials (the best & worst entertainment on TV) finally are up for an Emmy. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominated five spots for its first Outstanding Commercial award. Nominees are Levi's, for FCB's "Doctor" and "Elevator Fantasy"; GM, for Hal Riney's electric vehicle "Appliances" spot; HBO, for BBDO's "Chimps"; and Nike, for Wieden's "Hello World" Tiger Woods spot. Winner will be announced Sept. 7. Who's it gonna be? Fax or e-mail Adages your pick (see bottom of column), and we'll tally the votes.
O&M keeps opinions in Czech
Oh, the art of losing gracefully. Euro RSCG in Prague beat out incumbent Ogilvy and three other shops for Czech cell phone account RadioMobil. Comment from John Goodman, O&M's man in Prague: "Rather than fixing the problem, RadioMobil began to behave like a headless chicken, designing their own ads on an Apple Mac with no thought of strategy or image . . . By changing the advertising, RadioMobil [execs] are clutching at straws to cover up their own inadequacy."
Chevy quality . . . mutual respect
GM last week shut for two days a factory that assembles the Chevy Malibu because of a defect that made cars coming off the line stall at 20 mph. Campbell-Ewald's Malibu slogan? "The car you knew America could build." . . . An agency exec you've all heard of describing the process of selling a big idea to managers at a client: "It's like giving them all darts and tying yourself up."
Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Scott Donaton, Susan Graening, Jeff Jensen and Normandy Madden.
Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157;