LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

When someone creates a body of advertising as enduringly brilliant as Roy Grace's, people understandably want to know how he did it. Were there rules he followed? Guidelines? Checklists?

Did Roy have a lucky sweatshirt? A favorite hat? Did he work best in the morning? Evening? Over lunch? Overnight?

And what about Feng Shui? Was his furniture arranged for maximum creativity?

No. No. No. No.

And no.

The decades of extraordinary advertising that poured out of Roy Grace weren't the product of rules, luck or ever any vogue-of-the-moment. They were the product of Roy Grace.

A remarkable combination of talent, intelligence and taste that time and time again shaped, re-shaped, directed and renewed the spirit of advertising, Roy was breaking ground, pushing envelopes and thinking out of boxes long before these described the impulses that came so naturallyto him.

Did suitcase advertisers use glamorous movie stars to sell suitcases?

Roy used a gorilla.

Did car advertisers spend millions to be sure their cars glistened?

Roy covered a Range Rover in mud.

And, in perhaps the ultimate tribute to dazzlingly fresh creative, Roy gave us a drab and hackneyed commercial for pasta sauce-the wonderful stealth "Mama Mia" Alka Seltzer spot, chosen in one vote, poll and survey after another as America's best-loved commercial.

I, along with writers such as Evan Stark, Roy's wife Marcia Grace and so many others, were truly privileged to have worked with Roy.

He should not be dead ("Remembering classic work of Roy Grace," AA, March 10). He had so much more to do with his life. But he was amazingly prolific, and I suppose he would always have needed more time than he's been given.

And I certainly know that the rest of us could surely have used more time with him as well.

Diane Rothschild

Vice Chairman

Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners

New York

Ms. Rothschild co-founded Grace & Rothschild, New York, with Roy Grace in 1986 and prior to that had worked with Mr. Grace for 12 years at Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York.

No American-bashing here in Germany

Regarding Rance Crain's "French, German marketers will feel wrath of U.S. buyers" (Viewpoint, AA, Feb. 24). He is right that consumers do and should use their buying power with all and any products from companies they do not like. But his saying that Germans take a "delight" in bashing Americans is way off the mark.

Difference of opinion is by no means taking a delight in bashing Americans. Such rhetoric I have come to expect from Trent Lott, Tom DeLay or Don Rumsfeld but am very disappointed to hear it from Rance Crain. ...

I have lived and worked here for 29 years and I am not confronted with any large protest, and by no means any bashing of Americans.

Mark Smith

Aizenau, Germany

TiVo will roil TV; just wait and see

Regarding Rance Crain's statement that TiVo and ReplayTV will be only a "minor irritant" to the TV networks: He can't possibly be serious. ("Just a midwinter day dream? TiVo a boon for the TV nets," Viewpoint, AA, Feb. 10).

As ownership and use of digital video recorders gradually proliferates over the next dozen years or so, viewership of TV commercials will become a small fraction of what it is today. Network ad revenues will plummet, as will programming budgets, and by the year 2015 the business structure of network TV will have undergone a sea change from the current passive "eyeballs" model to an interactive relationship-based industry.

Just wait and see.

Richard Harbert

Integrated Communications Consultant

New York

What the TV nets really should fear

Re: "Just a midwinter day dream? TiVo a boon for the TV nets" (Viewpoint, AA, Feb. 10). Very well said. All indications are TiVo will become another entertainment delivery channel. The real fun begins when the rating services tell us who's viewing both content and commercials. Now there's something that the networks should fear.

Brad Forsythe

Co-Host

"The Advertising Show"

KIKK-AM

Houston

There's no justifying the copying of ideas

I generally enjoy and agree with Bob Garfield's Ad Review commentary. But the excerpt from his book "And Now a Few Words From Me" in which he condones agencies "copying" other agencies' work is dead wrong ("It's been done before? So what?" AA, Jan. 27).

Just because "consumers don't know the difference" is no justification. Copying is stealing, pure and simple. Why should an agency enrich itself by pilfering the work of others? And why should clients reward (pay) agencies that steal? Couldn't they bypass the middleman by doing the poaching themselves and going right to the production house with a copy of the admired spot in hand?

Another problem with condoning theft, one Garfield might not have considered, is it would encourage and provide justification to that dirty little secret of the agency world: creatives stealing from others within the same agency (a most heinous case of the strong pillaging the weak and a topic that certainly deserves its own column).

There will always be occurrences where commercials seem similar but in truth have been created without the authors having ever seen the "original" spot. And, yes, there will also always be commercials with scenes "inspired" by movies.

There's nothing wrong with either. But to condone stealing other people's concepts when ideas are the currency of the agency business is criminal.

Steven DiManni

Senior VP-Creative Director

Hakuhodo Advertising

New York

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