The cover photo of the Jan. 29 Ad Age with the four creative gurus of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners crossing the street a la the Beatles' "Abbey Road" cover [with the story "Creative that endures"] was truly spooky. In the photo, Paul Venables is barefoot. This will no doubt continue to fuel persistent rumors that Paul is dead. If you play the recent E-Trade monkey commercial backwards, I swear you can hear Jeff Goodby saying "I buried Paul." (Well, it's either that or "I married Charles de Gaulle.")
Congratulations to all the members of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for their well deserved win as "Agency of the Year." No agency has done better work longer. But please, guys, be careful crossing the street.
Ames Scullin O'Haire
My Kelly award story
In response to your editor's note at the end of "Jeff Goodby's creative rules" (AA, Jan. 29), I can honestly say that, as the creative in question, Jeff and Rich had every right to fire me. I screwed up completely. Yes, I should have picked up the Kelly award. Yes, I was embarrassed coming home empty-handed. And yes, in any other agency I would have been fired. But there were extenuating circumstances.
The year was 1996. Impending free agency threatened the core of the Orlando Magic basketball team. The fans of the Orlando Sentinel had just voted for Anfernee Hardaway as their preferred superstar. And Shaquille O'Neal was pissed. After all, didn't he just lead the team to the finals the year before? And here are the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and desperate for a return to glory. Scottie was there. Rodman was there.
It was a game for the ages. It was a game that truly embodied the NBA-it was fan-tastic. It was a game for the one remaining cherished spot in the NBA Finals. And a better man would have turned it off and attended the Kelly awards.
I'll have the imprint of Shaq battling Michael forever in my mind. I'll remember Scottie posting up on Penny as Nick Ander-son fought Rodzilla for position. And, as I went up to see Jeff and Rich, I'll forever remember the look on their faces when I walked in without the Kelly. I'll forever be indebted to them for not firing me.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Avoiding Pets.com woes
I read with great interest Jacques R. Chevron's article on Pets.com's failings ("Name least of Pets.com's woes," Forum, AA, Jan. 22). It was a pleasant surprise to read a thoughtful and insightful analysis of the situation.
At Petplanet.co.uk (no relation whatsoever to the dot-com but it seemed like a good name!), we have consistently pursued a (for a long time very unfashionable) strategy which I guess you could describe as "suck it and see." We obsessively monitor the effectiveness of every marketing dollar we spend and, if the economics don't stack up, we stop spending. We are also prudent about where we spend our money. Whilst we are not as "slick" as some of the higher profile companies, we are very economically rational.
As Mr. Chevron rightly points out, there is no point building a cost base that presumes a massive market unless you have shown that the market is there. Boy, did we have some frustrating conversations with potential backers about that. Amazing how keen people were to try and convince us to spend millions when we could already prove that the market wasn't (yet) there.
Fortunately, by sticking to our guns we established a leadership position in the U.K. with that rarity in the dot-com world-an economically sustainable business model. I hope we will prove to be a good illustration of how rational economics and sound business sense will always win through in the long run, and maybe even show some U.S. businesses could learn from some of us little ol' Europeans!
* In "Creative Pursuits" (Feb. 19, P. 1) and the table "Movers and Shakers" (P. 33), the name of Kevin McKeon, executive creative officer of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, was misspelled.
* In "McMahon brings lifetime of marketing to Publicis" (Feb. 19, P. 23), Doug McMahon is chairman-CEO, Publicis, New York, not president-CEO as reported.
* In "Pricewaterhouse hires DiMassimo" (Feb. 19, P. 32), Di-Massimo will work exclusively with PricewaterhouseCoopers' Fi-nancial Advisory Services group, not the accounting or consulting units, if Financial Advertising Services separates from Pricewa-terhouseCoopers.
* In "Found art" (Landmarks, Feb. 19, P. 36), the Diners Club ad was created by WPP Group's Impiric and Y&R Advertising, both Chicago. The caption incorrectly credited the work to Y&R Advertising, New York.
* In "Toymakers are geared up to showcase tween tech" (Feb. 12, P. S-8), the senior VP-consumer products at Nickelodeon is Leigh Anne Brodsky.