We were absolutely stunned to read the following statement in the July 31 Advertising Age in the article entitled "Campbell cans latest soup effort":
"According to an executive close to the company [Campbell Soup Co.], the agency [BBDO] was retained in part due to its strong ties to Mr. Thrasher, who recommended instead that Bernadette Murray, exec VP-senior account director and top executive on the account, be taken off . . ."
First, for approximately three years, Bernadette Murray was a highly respected and valued member of the Campbell's account team.
This opinion was shared by the Campbell's organization including Marty Thrasher, president of North America, and Maria Puoti, vice president and director of global advertising. In fact, far from being "asked off," both were very sorry to see Bernadette leave the business.
Second, no one at Campbell's was contacted and asked to comment on this subject. Nor, for that matter, was anyone at BBDO contacted and asked to respond.
Had we been contacted, we would have vigorously refuted this allegation. What's more, we would have pointed out Ms. Murray had changed assignments back in January. A press release was widely distributed at that time and reported publicly in newspapers such as The New York Times.
Finally, we find it irresponsible and highly unprofessional that Ad Age should choose to run such an erroneous statement (from an unnamed "executive close to the company") without checking all of the facts, or giving either the agency or the client a chance to comment.
Senior VP-Director of Corporate Communications
I am writing to set the record straight in regards to the Campbell Soup Co. account and its management at BBDO.
In Advertising Age's July 31 issue, it was reported that I requested that Bernadette Murray be "taken off" the Campbell's business. This is simply not true. Ad Age's reporter chose to quote an anonymous source for the allegation. Had she asked me, I would have told her it was not true. Ms. Murray was an important and valued member of the team.
Ms. Murray's exit from the Campbell account was as a result of her promotion in January 2000 by BBDO to a leadership position on the Pepsi account, as was widely reported. As a matter of policy, Campbell does not comment or characterize personnel decisions made by our agency partners. However, in this instance, I feel we need to set the record straight.
F. Martin Thrasher
Campbell North America
Clutter not the problem
In response to "Ad Nauseam" (AA, July 10), I was not convinced by the arguments of [Stay Free! Editor and Publisher] Carrie McLaren or Adbusters to remove ads for reasons of over-bombardment. The problem is not the quantity of ads we are exposed to; it is how bad those ads are. It is the degenerate quality of the ads the "anti-adcreepers" are responding so angrily to.
Who reacted negatively to an incredible Dubonnet or Campari ad, to the brilliant poster designs of Saul Bass and Paul Rand, or to the "Got to Go Out" campaign of Gene Federico? Ads of the past sold the product through the sheer beauty and design of the ad. They were sophisticated. At an elevated level of communication, they were meant to be looked at as art.
Excluding a handful, most ads today communicate at a level insulting to the public's intelligence. The ingenuity and individuality of brands and the brains behind the ads have given way to a disturbing uniformity and lack of thought -- a "Borg" of ads. And that's what's nauseating.
If I saw Times Square bombarded with beautifully designed, intelligent advertising coming from great ideas, I would be in ad heaven. So, yes, remove the current ads. They are God-awful. But replace them with ads worthy of their predecessors; worthy of being called art.
In "F.Y.I" (July 31, P. 64), BBDO Worldwide, New York, was wrongly reported to have dropped out of a review for a Major League Baseball branding campaign. BDDO was not a participant in the review.