LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

I just read Bob Garfield's article "Patriot Games." (AA, Oct. 15). As a person deeply troubled by all these veiled attempts at rejuvenating lagging sales, I applaud this fresh voice. While I am relieved the industry has not ignored the tragedy entirely, it has, at times, crossed the boundaries of good taste with questionable motives.

I work for an advertising agency, and it is this sort of behavior that gives our entire industry a bad name. Thank Bob for pointing it out. I hope it spreads to other agency people. Now if Ford and General Motors executives would just read it.

Lorin Drake

Senior Research Analyst

Haworth Marketing & Media

Minneapolis, Minn.

And so Bob Garfield's an expert? Says who? Bet he drives a foreign car. [He should] find a real job and stop his ignorant whining. And please stay off TV. There are too many idiots like Bob there already.

Michael Ball

Seattle

Right on, Bob Garfield.

The disrespectful and self-indulgent advertising he decries in "Patriot Games" has been high on my rant list since Sept. 11, perhaps second only to the news industry's incessant "branding" of unbelievable tragedy and war. The innocent victims who died scrambling for their lives, and the heroes beyond praise who died trying to save them, deserve a more honored place in the American memory than a spot upon which to erect another billboard.

Perhaps we all need to wrap ourselves in and dry our tears with the Stars and Stripes and a few super size happy meals for a time. But someday soon we need to shake off our collective ignorance and understand that the companies and brands we represent have responsibilities not only to their customers and shareholders, but also to the political state of the world and humanity in general. Showing a little dignity in times like these would be a good way to start. The messages we send echo in places that have never seen a full-size SUV with leather trim and built-in VCR, but where the people love their children nonetheless.

Kevin D. Dixon

Online Creative Manager

World Online

The Lawrence Journal-World

Lawrence, Kansas

I couldn't agree with Bob Garfield more. I am sickened by the blatant tugging on my every patriotic fiber to buy, buy, buy. It's disgusting and, as he said, "repulsive."

This travesty isn't just limited to print or TV ads. Clear Channel [Communications], for example, appeals almost incessantly for me to support my American brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, by spending money. Hmmm. I thought I could best help my fellow citizens by listening to them, crying with them and saying a prayer for all of us. If I'd only known a new Suburban would've have been more effective. Have those patriotic marketers considered where most of our goods come from? I notice that they're not asking us to "buy American," just to buy.

And isn't it ironic that Ford thinks it's more patriotic to force yet another gas guzzler on us rather than spend a modicum of its research dollars on developing alternative fuels and more efficient cars? Ah, but this isn't really about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, is it? Should I even mention the ubiquitous ribbons and bunting and brand identity ("America Strikes Back" or "Attack on America") on every TV news show?

The whole thing makes me tired and angry and ashamed that once again what's wrong with us has gotten the better of what's right with us.

Shelby Clark

Sandy Lake, Pa.

I loved Bob Garfield's article. I forwarded it to everybody I know. Usually, I find criticisms of industry by those within the industry shallow; a concept too ironic to take seriously. However, Garfield's opinions on the subject generate a welcome assurance akin to the smell of barbecue in summer. He nailed it on the head.

Daniel Chu

Writer

TBWA/Chiat/Day

New York

I have spent much of my adult life studying and teaching people with regard to their behavior and their beliefs. Bob Garfield's comments on the interplay between patriotism and profiteering are right on. If nothing else, Sept. 11 should have caused those not directly affected by the attacks to see more clearly what is sacred and preeminently important. Apparently, we cannot maintain that perspective for very long. Truly, as a society, we are addicted to work and money. Garfield's comments show maturity and a clear sense of ultimate priority. Thank you.

Paul Aganski

West Newbury, Mass

Thanks to Bob Garfield for the terrific article. Very eloquent, and I totally agree. It needed to be said, loudly and strongly.

Paulette Wilhelmy

President-CEO

The Marketing Integrators

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Amen.

Thank you.

Nathan Huey

Dallas

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