Published on .

I wasn't sure how to react to James X. Mullen's Forum piece, "Creative management of right-brain types" (AA, April 10). Where do you begin? Maybe a list of the particularly misguided excerpts from his book is the right approach:

1. "Your job (as well as your sole option) is to align the company's goals with theirs [i.e., the creatives], and not vice versa." Oh, really? I'll alert the stockholders.

2. "Begin by accepting the creative temperament, and by understanding its sometimes delightful, sometimes damaging dynamics." Are we to understand that the Mullen Advertising agency is structured as "creatives" and "all others"? I'm curious to know what happens when a media planner throws a hissy fit?

3. "There wouldn't be an advertising business without the creative types, nor would the account service people [read: noncreative types] have anything to sell." Would Mr. Mullen hold these same creative types responsible for the fact that more and more clients are fed up with exactly this type of narcissistic drivel and are actively looking outside the agency business for creative solutions? Account people generally love taking truly original and exciting work to clients. Everybody looks good. Maybe these account service "bag-carriers" whose job Mr. Mullen thinks it is to sell work would like to see some new media, technology or retail approaches thrown into that artcase full of overpriced :30 commercials and 4/C spreads. I imagine Ed Artzt would like to see them, too.

4. "The management of your creative employees may be one of your greatest challenges, but I promise you that your successful efforts will provide your greatest rewards." What a closer! Another empty promise delivered with the unfettered confidence of a "creative type."

Jeff Saverine

Client marketing specialist

McKinney Marketing Group

Weston, Conn.

James Mullen's article condescends to the very people he praises. Treating creative people as a different breed perpetuates a stereotype that is substantially untrue-that creative people are not grownups, that we can't be trusted to handle business problems the way left-brain people can.

It gives creative people permission to act like adolescents or pets, and it keeps account people running agencies. It does us no favors to be "spoiled," "indulged" and "pampered" ("good doggie!").

Sure, some creative people are 99% right-brain. But the vast majority are quite capable of understanding a marketing plan, listening to a client, or changing a line because the consumer just didn't get it.

It's no coincidence that so many of the great agencies have creative people at the helm. With creative people in charge, you don't get a lot of extraneous stuff. We know the business is simple, if not easy. It's about making ads.

We're generally not obsessed with reorganizing departments, changing the floor plan, or renaming conference rooms. We're not likely to spend much time coming up with alliteratively named theories that explain why we do what we do. We're too busy doing it.

Millie Olson

Sausalito, Calif.

Quoting James Dougherty of Dean Witter in your article on Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt (AA, April 17), you reported: "It's a mid-sized agency that doesn't have a global network. Bozell will need to align itself with an international network like Ammirati & Puris and Scali McCabe Sloves did in order to grow."

This will come as a great surprise to Unisys, which we serve in more than 40 countries, and Chrysler, which is served in 30 countries-just to mention two of our many multinational clients.

The facts (as accurately reported in your April 10 Agency Report): 1) BJK&E has over 100 offices in more than 50 countries on six continents; 2) Bozell, our largest agency, ranks No. 12 in the U.S. and No. 19 worldwide-which doesn't seem too "mid-sized"; 3) Bozell's worldwide growth of 24.9% in 1994 exceeded, by far, the performance of all other major agencies; and 4) While we are surely a "second generation" international network in terms of historical development, our achievements and our commitments are of the highest order-as confirmed by our rankings among the leading agencies in more than 30 of the countries you surveyed.

We'll do even better in 1995. Which I hope Advertising Age and Dean Witter will notice.

Allan D. Gardner

Managing partner-corporate

Comunications, Bozell, Jacobs,

Kenyon & Eckhardt

New York

In the crimson-colored ad for Men's Health magazine (AA, April 10), is Castro giving the proofreader the finger? Or is he merely pointing out their misspelling of "Do" in their article "Making due on less"?

No wonder he's seeing red; they've made the "aging dictator" look like he can no longer dictate effectively.

Dave Rapp

Advertising/Promotion Concepts

New City, N.Y.

While recognizing the Saatchi brothers' contribution to creativity, I feel the situation in which Maurice Saatchi has landed himself and his ex-companies has to raise a question about his business standards and sense of responsibility to anyone other than himself.

I have to concede some vested interest since I play, among others, a strategic planning role in the Bates office in Canada.

Even before the current debacle, I would have rated Maurice and Charles Saatchi as somewhere between a neutral and negative force. They did, after all, make themselves and this industry look stupid with their bid for the Midland Bank, with the high price they paid for Bates, and with the feverish scramble to acquire other companies which then had to be sold off.

The whole process left a lot of people thinking that the industry was more about financial self-interest and ineptitude than creativity.

It also left a lot of employees in the Saatchi, Bates and CME networks working even harder than ever to pay off the debts that the brothers incurred in their relentless quest for self-aggrandizement and size for size's sake.

Given recent events, I would now change that assessment: Maurice Saatchi has become a positively dangerous force, a bull elephant too damaged to care about the damage it's causing. In his case the damage, of course, is to his ego rather than physical. I think [ Saatchi & Saatchi shareholder] David Herro and his supporters miscalculated the consequence of their actions. But it doesn't diminish the very simple fact that Maurice Saatchi and his brother haven't been in a position to pay the piper without outside help for quite some time.

It would seem that he's willing to rend apart the Saatchi baby he bore, and the Bates/CME babies he bought, whatever the price. Once again he's leaving a lot of employees, as well as investors, to sort out the mess from which he's walking away.

The Saatchi brothers had the power to do a lot of good for the advertising and communications industry. I think Maurice Saatchi has long abused that power.

Jake McCall


Advertising Age welcomes letters to the editor, but we ask that they be held to no more than 250 words in length. The editors reserve the right to edit letters. Address letters to Advertising Age, Viewpoint Editor, 740 Rush St., Chicago 60611. Fax: (312) 649-5331. Letters can also be posted through the Ad Age Bulletin Board on Prodigy, or by Prodigy E-Mail at [email protected]

Most Popular
In this article: