Creative Lesson Misses

As a lesson in Creativity 101, “Cut It Out,” by Jim Crimmins, [A&C, Aug. 13] leaves a lot out.

His assumption seems to be that all products are like the examples he uses. They aren’t by a long shot. Apple, Nike, milk, Volkswagen and Budweiser are all parity products in mature, commodity categories.

Traditionally, advertising for these parity products has aimed not to inform—what is there new to say?—but to entertain. But what of products that haven’t reached parity? Or new products just on the market? Creativity has to give their relevant, pertinent facts—using as interesting and imaginative means as it can devise. Consumers want to know before they will accept.

Sadly, this is a lesson most of the late dot-commers never took to heart. They advertised themselves like Coke or Pepsi, or in arch and obscure ways that led to much head scratching but few sales.

Who created that advertising for them? Agencies that haven’t learned—or, worse, ignored—the fact that the unknown can’t be advertised like the well-known; that a new brand isn’t created by treating it like an old, established brand. It must have its own identity, based on its own facts and character and consumer value, whether emotional or rational, delivered with all the art that creativity can muster.

That’s the true lesson and legacy Bill Bernbach left us.

Tom Cammarata
Principal, creative director
Coyote Hill Creative
Middletown, Calif.

Tyree for President

After reading “Man About Town” [Aug. 27], I am seriously considering moving to Tibet to study with the Dalai Lama. It has been painfully obvious to me for quite some time that the downfall of Western civilization has begun, and Neilan Tyree’s keen observations have only served to solidify my beliefs.

Only one thing could keep me here. As we speak, I am drawing up a petition to nominate Neilan for president, and I will start canvassing the city immediately.

Linda Smith
Hampel Stefanides
New York

For the record: The still from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in Shoptalk [Aug. 27] should have been credited to Photofest.