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On design and taste

As a professor of advertising for 24 years, with a decade of professional experience before that, I take exception to several letters in your March 18 issue.

First, the new design of your publication is wonderful. No longer do I get eyestrain from searching for articles of interest. You've made the whole book inviting, so don't be swayed by your critics.

Second, and more importantly, while I praise Ed McCabe regularly in classes, I think his letter and the Rally's commercial were low blows. [The letter was in response to Ad Review criticism of the commercial as suggestive.]

In still another letter, a chap says the true measure of an ad is how well it sells. Mr. McCabe would probably agree, as would most professionals in the business. In advertising education, while we agree to a point, we draw the line when the methods employed are in questionable taste or promote habits or lifestyles that are unhealthy. While we're teaching copy, design, media, marketing and consumer research, we're also instilling budding mass communicators with a sense of ethics-or at least trying to do so.

Professionals might consider thinking twice before using shock value to attract an audience, as Benetton surely didn't with the photo of three human hearts. I can't argue that selling isn't the name of the game, but at what price?

A. Jerome Jewler

University of South Carolina

Columbia, S.C.

Blacks in mainstream

I must admit that I approached reading Rance Crain's column on "Letting blacks pitch mainstream biz" (AA, March 11) with emotional caution. I didn't know what to expect. As an advertising novice, I had the recent privilege of stressing a similar point to a major beverage marketer; that African-Americans are the traditional trend setters in many backdrops of today's most dynamic and creative marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, this fact goes unrecognized because some pioneers in African-American advertising make subtle attempts to dilute their natural ties to ethnic originality, while opportunist Caucasian advertisers quickly recognize the seed of a dynamic inner-city marketing theme, and elevate the concept to award-winning status.

Of course, this is nothing new, regardless of how sad the commentary. Old-guard African-Americans have long ignored bona fide ethnic trends, until the Caucasian elitist places a stamp of approval on what was already a success story in the making. Kwanzaa is the latest example. Unfortunately, once this occurs it is probably too late, because we lack the leverage to compete once the gold rush begins.

Too many journalists develop "positive" African-American articles that are tainted with racist innuendoes and negative stereotypes, yet provide no real solutions. Mr. Crain's article was truly defiant.

Christopher K. Bryant

Account exec

Anderson Communications


Fans lose again

Re your article, "For stadiums, the game's the dome name" (AA, March 4), I differ profoundly with the idea that this new trend is a "win-win" situation. Unless you mean win-win for everyone except the fan.

As the article positively notes, the new corporate sponsor can treat "its good customers to the best seats in the house." Which means the real fans lose out, just like at World Series time when the seats they normally occupy during the regular season are filled with corporate white shirts, a lot of whom know nothing of the game.

Also disturbing within this trend is the loss of a stadium or arena's identity, contrary to what Betsy Richardson of Fleet Bank may say. She's telling me that something named the Fleet Center is more descriptive and aesthetic than "Boston Garden"? Give me a break.

Why doesn't she say it like it is-self-serving money-making by the businesses and owners at the expense of tradition and the sport itself.

By the way, does the 3Com company really think people are calling Candlestick Park by their name? I just have one question for the people at 3Com: Why would they name a baseball park after Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin anyway?

Charles N. Fulco

Port Chester, N.Y.


In "Del Monte cooking up pasta sauce" (Feb. 5, P. 3), Borden Foods Corp. led the category with 26% growth for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 3. Prince is one of the brands marketed by Borden.


Address letters to Advertising Age, Viewpoint Editor, 740 Rush St., Chicago 60611. Fax: (312) 649-5331. Letters can also be posted via the Internet to [email protected]

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