Not-so-super ad bowl, says Y&R's Phillips

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If the Super Bowl is meant to be a showcase for great advertising, then we in the business have reason to worry because this year's performance, with the exception of a few commercials, was as bad as the game was good.

I was frankly embarrassed for the advertising industry and spent much of the evening worrying about what clients were thinking as spot after spot reeked of self-indulgence and irrelevance. Could this less-than-satisfactory public spectacle contribute to a growing lack of client confidence in advertising and the people who create it? I fear so.

Has our industry forgotten what advertising is for and why clients invest billions of dollars around the world? We are not in the entertainment business. We are not comedians. We are meant to be in the business of selling our clients' products and services while simultaneously building strong brands. Yet, on one of the most visible stages the media have to offer, the advertising industry did not pass either of these important tests. The explosion of senseless and irrelevant dot-com advertising only makes matters worse.

I remember David Ogilvy lam-basting the advertising industry for its self-indulgence at a meeting of the Association of National Advertisers in Phoenix. He said something we might all take to heart: "I started my career as a salesman. I was paid a commission on the sales I made. No sales, no commission. No commission, no eat. That left a mark on me." Perhaps that is why David was so focused on advertising that sells.

I am not going to tolerate self-indulgent, irrelevant advertising at Y&R, and I hope my fellow CEOs will do likewise.

Graham Phillips

Worldwide Chairman-CEO

Y&R Advertising

EDS ad on target

Regarding Bob Garfield's informative and enlightening (as always) review of the Super Bowl ads ("Super Bowl ad standouts?," AA, Jan. 31), and, in particular, the item on [the] Electronic Data Systems Corp. [spot]: There is a common complaint among IT professionals-"This job is like herding cats!" As a business-to-business ad, this was actually extremely appropriate. The fact that it was very entertaining was a plus.

Danni Babik

Production artist, Desktype


Bob Garfield is usually on target with his advertising evaluations . . . However, his comment about [the EDS spot's] connection to the advertiser being "preposterously tenuous" merely serves to show [his] lack of marketing expertise. [He should] look at things from the perspective of the target audience, not the general public.

David V. Rudd

Associate Professor-Marketing

McColl School of Business

Queens College

Charlotte, N.C.

`Fear'-style managers

Re: "Under Pressure" (AA, Jan. 31): Under pressure? Under an idiot. Too often "hard-driving" is confused with weak minded. Accountability is nothing new to sales in any field; quotas are assigned and sales professionals have a responsibility to take every reasonable step to hit their numbers.

The article's description of the atmosphere under Richard Beckman brought back vivid memories of "fear"-style managers I remember in my own past. Results never improved and the best people went elsewhere. By divine intervention, those traits that make folks like him eventually fail make a career in sales all worth it. There just is no excuse for being a jerk.

Matt Gorman

VP-Sales, Hale Communications

Lincolnshire, Ill.


* In Adages (Jan. 31, P. 8), the Bijan Fragrances ad featuring model Bella! was created in-house.

* In "Consumer magazine advertising linage" (Jan. 31, P. 48), the Sports Illustrated for Kids full-year 1999 total is 325.1 and the full-year 1998 total is 361.6.

* In "CyberCritique" (Jan. 31, P. 74), Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., created the campaign with one9ine, New York.

* In "Super Bowl ad standouts?" (Jan. 31, P. 95), Burkhardt & Hillman, New York, handled

* In "Heineken scopes out evolution" (Jan. 31, P. 96), three Heineken USA spots, including one titled "The Theory of Beervolution," target 21-to-34-year-old males. Copywriters/art directors were Lee Garfinkle and C.J. Waldman.

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