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TV news dilemma

Randall Rothenberg's column "Problems of TV network news are more than DiCaprio can fix" (Viewpoint, AA, April 17) was very much to the point: "pandering" to younger audiences, and done so poorly by older males who haven't a clue what the younger viewers want.

I am a reporter for a very successful TV station in the South that finds itself between the proverbial rock and hard place: It wants to cater to the younger demos yet it doesn't want to alienate the older audience.

I do not have the answers. (And if I did, I'm sure they'd welcome me to the management suite.) But I ponder this scenario: With the average viewer getting older yet retaining a considerable expendable income, might the advertising wonks be making an erroneous assumption; that assumption being that younger buyers are the only ones worth pitching to because they'll buy the latest flash in the pan while older (more experienced) buyers know the difference between form and substance? Maybe we're in for a paradigm shift.

James Lewis

Nashville, Tenn.

Jaguar and Spike Lee

Congratulations to Jaguar for bringing Spike Lee on board to give their brand image a much-needed update ("Jaguar enlists Spike Lee to help diversify market," AA, April 24). I think we're all pretty tired of the commercials that pronounce "Jaguar" as a three syllable word.

I'd also like to congratulate Spike, but I can't.

By giving a production assignment to Spike's film company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Jaguar fell noticeably short of establishing a real marketing partnership. Spike is also CEO of his own advertising agency, Spike- DDB. Why not give the agency an advertising assignment?

Production companies are considered "vendors," while advertising agencies are considered "marketing partners." I doubt this distinction was lost on Jaguar or on its general market agency, Ogilvy & Mather.

Over the past several months, 40 Acres & A Mule has received assignments from the U.S. Navy and McDonald's Corp., among others. Spike-DDB seems to be the invisible man. I've searched the Web. Nothing. Not only couldn't I find a Spike-DDB Web site, but there's no mention of the agency on the DDB Web site. And a net search failed to turn up any articles that weren't three years old.

Spike-DDB had enormous promise and potential when it began. And it had a great first year. But now it seems like little more than a convenient excuse for including Spike in important DDB new business presentations.

If that's true, it's just sad and I feel badly for Spike, who deserves better.

Mark S. Robinson

President, Heritage Apparel

Ridgefield, Conn.

Editor's note: Mr. Robinson, a former managing director of Spike DDB, left that agency in January 1998.

Good taste in ads?

Whatever were the brass at Ad Age thinking when they accepted that full page 4-color ad from Powerful Media (in the May 1 edition)? Perhaps this is one of the things Bill Bernbach thought about when he spoke of the need for good taste in advertising.

Surely the use of the word "schmuck" is anything but good taste. While it may have become acceptable as a replacement for "jerk" or some other appelation, it still nonetheless is the Yiddish word for penis.

Arthur L.Iger

Professor of Advertising

New York Institute of Technology

Central Islip, N.Y.

Editor's note: The ad copy featured a quote attributed to a "soon-to-be-`retired' movie mogul" that said "No dot-com schmuck is going to tell me how to run my studio."


* In "KPMG to choose global ad agency for $30 mil effort" (May 8, P. 2), the $30 million figure refers to U.S. spending only and not the KPMG International global account, as originally reported. A company spokesman said spending on the entire global account will be "significantly higher" but declined to disclose the amount. Also, Deloitte & Touche agency Keiler & Co. is located in Farmington, Conn., not Wilton, Conn.

* In "Topless Summer" (May 8, P. 36), the St. Louis office of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles is handling this summer's "It could be your next Coke" instant-win promotion for Coke Classic, not D'Arcy, New York, as originally reported

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