Amana TV Advertising Sparks Controversy
Iam curious as to why Barbara Lippert found it necessary to note that an actress in an Amana TV commercial was “a very engaging African American” [Critique, May 31]. She didn’t find it necessary to mention that the actresses in the other ads were Caucasian, so why the special mention? Is there something intrinsic I should know about the ad because it’s an African American selling a refrigerator?
The fact that the author made special note of the actress’ ethnicity implies that it’s rare to find one so “engaging.” That paragraph goes on to mention that the actress moves like a dancer. Talk about propagating stereotypes. And this after condemning another ad for using a “Latino stereotype.” What do you think you’re doing, Barbara?
The publishing of such not-so-subtle racial snubbing is ultimately the responsibility of the editor. Now, would that be the WASP-y editor?
Ken Casarsa
Senior copywriter
Sage Marketing Communications, Syracuse, N.Y.

Barbara Lippert responds: Ironically, the intention of the column was to celebrate the diversity of female types in the spot. It’s not often that a black woman touts refrigerators, and I thought that deserved mention. Be Proud of What You Know and Prove the RestI just read Alison Fahey’s column titled “High Anxiety” [Art & Commerce, June 21]. I thought her comments were interesting and on target.
The bottom line is, we in the advertising/marketing/communications fields are challenged with offering multiple disciplines if we are to provide the services the client needs to compete in this ever-changing marketplace. The natural instinct is to try to incorporate these many services in an all-inclusive name.
In my opinion, we should have that pride–which Ms. Fahey referenced as arrogance–on those services that we have proven we can provide to clients. And before crowing too loudly, we should demonstrate our ability to handle the new responsibilities we are taking on.
David C. Martin
President, chief executive officer
Troy, Mich.