LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

It was a big surprise to us at McCann New York to learn that the momentum in the New York office needed resuscitation ("Gosper's goal: Resuscitate McCann's momentum in NYC," AA, Aug. 25)

That headline, which didn't reflect the article itself, misrepresented the Herculean efforts of the 1,000 people here who have been engaged in so much momentum we can't see straight. It would have been far more accurate to say that Brett Gosper (who is a great guy, by the way and would never have positioned himself as a resuscitator) will help us continue the momentum.

We've had no less than nine new business wins since January-including Nikon, Budget Rent a Car, the Goody division of Newell, the global L'Oreal Plenitude account, the $170 million Capital One account , the global Bass ale account, the global AOR Brown-Forman business, Pfizer's Bextra and last week's global Cadbury win. By Ad Age estimates, that adds up to over $500 million in billings-and the year is not over yet.

So we liked the body copy but hated the headline. You're lucky it wasn't an ad.

Nina DiSesa

Chairman Chief Creative Officer

McCann-Erickson

New York

Don't blame the poor creative department

Re: Randall Rothenberg's column "Eight basic steps to reform today's creative department" (Viewpoint, AA, Aug. 4). Ads are the way they are because clients are the way they are and apparently wish to remain. If they want better work, they'll find a way to get it.

The list of innovators in our business is long and honorable. But where is the Gossage agency today? Where is DKG? Jack Tinker? Wells Rich? George Lois? Cliff Freeman is hanging on by a hair. And so on. (There's always Crispin. But in New York?) The advertising money is with the Big Battalions; those clients nurture lock-step conformists. The Sorrells of the world know it. They follow the money, do whatever it takes to keep the client happy and laugh all the way to the bank.

America is afraid of innovation. So don't blame the poor creative department! Client conservatism is abetted by those smirking suits. Creatives are treated like Steinbrenner treats Derek Jeter (as a talented truant who stays out late and cheats him out of hits or double plays). Now, when creative guys set up shop they've been brainwashed into hiding behind cute but obscure names like Modernista. Today's creative people don't lack talent; they lack the ability to "think different."

Don't believe that? Look at Lurzer's Archive. You'd think one art director did all the ads, which seem to favor drugged-out chicks, condoms, bare bottoms, peeling walls and deathscapes.

But by far the most important factor: These days, if you actually have a decent-paying job, what creative guy with a mortgage and kids in school is going to tell the suits where to stick it? Lose the condo over a clever headline? Please.

Richard Calderhead

New York

Rothenberg right about agency lack of diversity

Randall Rothenberg's column "Eight basic steps to reform today's creative department" (Viewpoint, AA, Aug. 4) is dead-on.

The advertising industry used to be run by creative people. Now it's run by corporations whose vision starts and stops at the bottom line. Typical of the corporate mind-set, they have all but drained the life out of the creative process. This is in large part due to the hiring practices of today's major ad agencies. There is a template that every prospective candidate must fit, without exception.

As Rothenberg wrote, the industry is overwhelmingly cookie-cutter Caucasian. Clean-cut, college-degreed suburbanites, virtually indistinguishable one from the next.

I would speculate that most of these marketing whiz kids have virtually no exposure to diversity, except what can be gleaned from MTV and TV news. Yet these are the people who are supposedly best suited to relate to diverse consumer segments.

Often the message arrives DOA-obsolete as soon as these kids deliver it to the target. By the time white America co-opts black or urban culture the target is usually long gone and onto something new (remember when white people hated rap?).

Ad Age is the perfect example of this. Look at any (or every) issue. With few exceptions, the only people of color are the celebrity personalities being marketed to their respective niches.

The advertising business will remain stagnant as long as the holding companies keep limiting their creative output to a workforce that is cut from one piece of fabric.

Lem Payne

Marketing and Sales Manager

Surtsey Productions

Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

Corrections

* In "Mr. Clean gets $50M push" (Aug. 18, P.3), Mr. Clean AutoDry was wrongly described as a product for washing cars without water. The product does use water but dries without streaking or spotting without using a towel.

* In the chart "Media Family Trees" (Aug. 18, P. S-3), Infinity Broadcasting Corp., listed under Viacom, was incorrectly reported to be 64.2% owned by Viacom. Since February 2001, it has been 100% owned by Viacom.

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