Another Accusation and a Response from CP&B
Icouldn't agree more with Ileana Alemen-Rickenbach's comments in the Feb. 14 issue [Letters] about Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami. There is quite definitely a company pattern emerging.
While living in Miami some years back, I read an interview Chuck Porter did in Ocean Drive magazine. The reporter asked something to the effect of why Miami was not known for its
creativity in advertising, and Mr. Porter gave as the main reason that Miami's ethnic diversity made it hard for an ad agency to be creative. He indicated he's from Minneapolis (surely a creative hotbed, Fallon McElligott excepted), where everybody "is blond and blue-eyed," and it was easy to do exciting advertising. I faxed the article to the 4A's and suggested they send Mr. Porter to a diversity training seminar.
Now Alex Bogusky's comments show the same insensitivity.
In backing up Bogusky, his representative shows he/she has no idea or understanding what racism or bigotry is (in keeping with the agency philosophy?).
To judge from the agency portrait, it becomes obvious blacks, Hispanics and women have no future in CP&B management. Oops, I forget, the agency would then lose its creative edge.
It is saddening to see a successful agency express itself in such a way. Creative, maybe; ridiculous and backward, definitely.
Casanova Pendrill Publicidad
I read the article [in Ocean Drive magazine]. I didn't say what Michael Dozier quotes me as saying. What I did say, in a spot I wrote for Miami's Economic Development Council, is this: "What would you call a place where freedom is a tangible thing? A place where tens of thousands have been given the gift that is America, and have returned it 10,000 fold? What would you call a place where people still live and breathe the dream this country was born with, but where you can already see the future? What would you call such a place? Call it what we do. Miami."
Crispin Porter & Bogusky
Revisiting the Schwab Ad Featuring Picabo Street
Regarding Derek Bryant's response to my letter about the Charles Schwab ad, the issue is not what women wear to the gym but how they are portrayed in the media [Letters, Feb. 21]. Images that portray women without heads or other extremities objectify the female figure.
The image I am referring to is, to be sure, a small example of the objectification of women, but objectifying all the same. I wrote the letter because I thought it should have been addressed in Barbara Lippert's Critique of the campaign. A line to this effect was edited out of the original letter when it was published in the magazine.
The image is a blemish on an otherwise respectable campaign. I will agree with anyone who thinks this is a small example of a larger issue. But ask yourself, Why is it a woman? Why can't she have a head? What does it bring to the ad?
And for anyone who thinks it looks perfectly natural, like something you would see in a gym on any given day, ask yourself this, When was the last time I saw a woman in the gym without a head?
Do I have a problem with images of women wearing tank tops? No. Do I think images that focus on breasts portray women in a de-humanizing way? Yes. Enough time and energy has been given to this example. But as my colleague Mr. Bryant clearly demonstrates, the larger issue at hand, the objectification of women in the media, deserves more scrutiny.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos
Advice to Dot.coms:
Try a Little Marketing
The post-Super Bowl attempts to portray most dot.com advertising during the game as an almost unqualified success [Creative, Feb. 7], based partly on measurement, partly upon spin, should not obscure the fact that, for the most part, the game's massive audience was presented with an array of exceptionally weak ads.
With few exceptions, these ads did nothing more than communicate URLs and sometimes a vague sense of what benefit a consumer might receive from doing business with them. Highly successful, mass-audience advertising needs to be about much more than name recognition and curiosity, even if bumps in resulting awareness drive short-term traffic.
It's one thing for Budweiser, a brand virtually everyone in the audience knows and understands, to entertain for 30 seconds and then add their brand name, essentially saying, "The previous 30 seconds of fun were brought to you by Bud."
That approach, if well executed, can positively affect how people feel about established brands. E*Trade, because of its massive awareness, is one of the few Internet brands that can employ this approach. (And even they make sure the spot is clearly tied to the brand benefit while being funny.)
To optimize the extraordinary opportunities presented by mass-reach TV vehicles like the Super Bowl, young dot.coms need to make use of communications lessons learned over decades by "traditional" companies whose well-being depends on successful advertising--clearly understand your own point of difference; single-mindedly communicate potential benefit to the audience; and don't rely exclusively on your gut.
Decision makers live in ivory towers, even if they're virtual ones. It's imperative to expose advertising to normal human beings who represent the target audience before you spend millions to produce and air commercials.
Relying on outrageousness and audience curiosity to drive business results is immature at best. Even at Internet speed, there's room for a little marketing discipline.
Markowitz & Associates
Santa Fe, N.M