Thanks you for the wisdom and chutzpah displayed in Randall Rothenberg's column "Ad industry's stance on actors blind to importance of talent" (Viewpoint, AA, Sept. 18). I suspect many of your readers at least privately agreed with his views. The question is whether the people who really needed to see the piece -- the people behind the six months of sustained actor-bashing he decried -- read it, or would be affected by it if they did.
Some 20 years ago, Joe Kilgore, VP-executive creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, Houston, told his colleagues:
"Make casting your most important decision. Nothing is as important to a good commercial as casting. That's a rather sweeping statement, and it's meant to be. Casting is more important than the director, the location and the set. It's sometimes even more important than what's being said.
"You can have less than the best production company; you can have less money than you need; you can have a marginal script. If you have the right talent, you can have a first-class commercial.
"And as I'm sure you've surmised, the reverse is true, too. You can have the best of everything, and have the wrong cast, and you'll have a first-class embarrassment."
The industry needs more people like Joe Kilgore.
Thanks again to Mr. Rothenberg for having the courage to say something that needed to be said.
Geoffrey L. Bryan
Editor's note: Mr. Bryan is a writer and voice actor, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.
Stature of Yahoo!
As not only one of the "boundlessly corrupt Internet securities analysts," but also as a longtime student of the media business, I honestly cannot tell whether or not Randall Rothenberg's column "Faulty ideas of Web branding haunt big portals like Yahoo!", (Viewpoint, AA, Sept, 11) is serious or facetious. Please advise.
Is he serious in his view that Yahoo!'s brand is a goose egg because it didn't monopolize the distribution network? It would be interesting to compare how consumers feel about Yahoo! within all choices Internet vs. how they feel about Morton within the salt category.
My guess is Morton's about as real a brand with strongly seated consumer preferences as the USPS is in mail. There's need for other choices.
In my eyes, the stature of Yahoo! within its environment of endless choice -- stature that has been rising even as the available choices have multiplied -- is far more impressive, defensible and valuable than what Morton's got in salt or AT&T's got in telephony.
But this may all be unimportant because I have to believe he was joking.
Online Media Research Analyst
Salomon Smith Barney
Anti-drug ads criticized
Creativity [sister publication to Advertising Age] is correct to dismiss the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the "advertising" it has force-fed America over the years ("Our own publication `Creativity' wrong in dissing anti-drug ads," Rance Crain, Viewpoint, AA, Aug. 14).
The one thing the Partnership is good at is promoting government propaganda. The Partnership worked with a federal agency -- the office of White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey -- to plant "Just Say No" propaganda in primetime TV shows, magazines and movies. Those schemes were exposed by Salon.com and later by the Los Angeles Times.
All intelligent people should beware of an anti-drug organization that has received funding from the beer, cigarette and pill industries.
* In "A flash of fashion in Sony's ad push" (Oct. 30, P. 1), the ad for Sony Cyber-Shot was by Y&R Advertising, New York, not Y&R, San Francisco, as originally reported.
* In "A Sony Xmas is flat, sleek and stylish all over" (Oct. 30, P. 24), the name of Cory Basso was misspelled.
* In " Lowe tech expert Caufield to build 3Com `brand fame'", Oct. 30, P. 48), Fiona Caulfield's name was misspelled.
* In "Sports alliance gives `first look' to BBDO clients" (Oct. 30, P. 73), an incorrect photo was used. The photo showed John R. Osborn, senior VP-group media director, BBDO New York, not John B. Osborn (shown here), exec VP-director of integrated marketing, BBDO New York, who was interviewed in the article.
* In "Photo Review" (Oct. 16, P. 56), Salon.com President-CEO Michael O'Donnell was misidentified in a caption.
* In "Best Buy breaks spot touting Web site" (Oct. 16, P. 68), DDB Worldwide, New York, co-created the Best Buy ad campaign with DDB's interactive arm, Tribal DDB, which created the banner ads for the campaign.