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Cure for `ghost' ads

The story "Ghosts of Cannes" on fake ads (AA, June 11) highlights a long-established problem at awards shows-especially high-profile ones such as [the Interna-tional Advertising Festival at] Cannes.

It is somewhat ridiculous for the Cannes organizers to put much of the responsibility for resolving this problem on the shoulders of the jurors. These scams will only stop when the organizers accept that what is being done is fraud-and treat the offending agencies and individuals accordingly. One high-profile lawsuit would stop the practice in its tracks.

It is wholly unfair that agencies that fairly enter, at considerable cost, and that abide by the rules and conditions have their chance of winning stolen by a fake entry. Just as the International Olympic Committee fines and disqualifies drug takers in sports, so should advertising festivals. Fraud is fraud.

If we all want the prestige and value of awards to continue, then they must be seen as a fair representation of the creativity in our industry-creativity that is harnessed by clients to increase the value of their brands.

Or is it that the awards shows don't want to turn away lucrative entries? They must realize they can't have it both ways.

John Hegarty

Global Creative Director

Bartle Bogle Hegarty

New York

Why attack Toyota ad?

When blacks use the word "n*****," it's cool. When whites use the word "n*****," it's racism. Perhaps this was the rationale behind the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition's choice to condemn the Toyota Motor Sales USA promotional postcard ("Toy-ota regroups after ad furor," AA, May 28) that featured the mouth of an African-American youth smiling to reveal gold tooth jewelry (a [Toyota] RAV4 sport utility vehicle).

I'm curious how the Rev. Jackson can reprimand Toyota and Saatchi (its agency) for using the same visual language the 2000 Urban World Film Festival used in its advertisements and wild postings around New York last summer. The only difference between the two gold teeth is the Urban World tooth is much cooler-it has little diamonds on the "U."

But nobody criticized the Urban World image. It wasn't forced to pull its wild postings. Nobody demanded it hire a minority agency. Nobody publicly called the ad offensive.

So why is the postcard from Toyota demeaning to African-Americans and the ad for Urban World is not? Is it because Urban World is a black film festival run by blacks and other minorities? (Urban World is the film festival that premiered the famous Charles Stone short "True" and inspired the infamous Budweiser "Whas-sup!?!" commercials.)

Or is it because the Toyota image is not really demeaning or culturally insensitive to African-Americans? Perhaps it is only demeaning and culturally insensitive to upper-middle-class African-Americans who despise the imagery, attitudes, values and economic power of the hip-hop/rap generation. Turn on MTV or BET. Open the Source, Vibe or XXL. You will see images of young African-Americans wearing tooth jewelry, cornrows, do-rags, tattoos and other fashion statements that separate them from yesterday's civil rights movement and appall upper-middle-class African-Amer-icans.

Charles Hall

Freelance Creative Director

New York

Enough is enough. When are we going to stop being so politically correct? Why can't a company poke fun at a particular group of people without the fear of boycotts or repercussions? Why are whites the only group we are allowed to parody? As an endangered species (black male), we need to recognize that we (blacks) as a culture need to lighten up! If that makes me a sellout or an Uncle Tom, then so be it!

Michael Hollis

Senior Sales Representative

ESPN the Magazine

New York


* In "Mags enter digital age" (June 4, P. 6), Peter Meirs, Time Inc.'s director of alternative media technologies, was quoted regarding Annie Leibowitz and electronic use rights. Mr. Meirs did not intend to single out Ms. Leibowitz as a specific example of how such photographers handle their digital rights, but rather as a proxy for fashion and other high-profile photographers, who are unlikely to sign over such rights to their works without extensive discussions and negotiations.

* In the table "U.S. agencies by marketing services revenue" ("Spe-cial Report: Marketing Services," May 21, P. 24), DVC Communi-cations, Morristown, N.J., should have ranked No. 40 among marketing services agencies based on its $38.6 million in total gross income, all dedicated to marketing services. Ad Age had omitted the agency's returns from interactive and health care, giving DVC a lower ranking of No. 55. Both specialties are part of its marketing services operations.

* In the table "Top agencies in 124 countries" ("Agency Report," April 23, P. S-15), BBDO Dongbang, Seoul, should have reported $10 million in gross income on billings of $84.2 million in 2000 for its South Korean listing in the Agency Report. The BBDO subsidiary reported only partial-year returns.

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