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Letters

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London Calling: Branson Speaks Out
I have always realized I'm hopeless at public speaking and, after reading Alison Fahey's editorial "Fall From Grace" [Art & Commerce, July 5], I believe I should withdraw for life. I thought it would be obvious that saying what I said would be taken as a joke and that nobody would think anybody could be so crass as to mean otherwise. It fills me with horror to think what I said could have been misinterpreted. If any of our agencies around the world thought as you did, I apologize, and am on my knees.
Virgin's world success owes much to a number of magnificent agencies we've used over the years.
Richard Branson
Chairman/chief executive officer
Virgin Management Ltd.,
London
In Search of Sensible Risk-Takers
Susan Friedman's comments on the search for creative superstars [Art & Commerce, July 5] are a sad reflection not only on the advertising business but also on its clients.
The search she describes isn't about understanding work. It's about keeping the client happy.
And the client, in spite of all protestations, usually doesn't much care for the risks associated with breaking fresh ground. He's lots more likely to be looking for a campaign "like the one you did for so-and-so but different, of course."
Television and movies appear to be stuck in the same creative place, reprocessing and reissuing stuff we've loved and therefore might watch again. Maximizing eyeballs and minimizing risk is what it's all about.
I'm not sure why America buys it. Maybe we're all so bowled over by rampant innovation that we find warmed-over ideas a comfort.
Still, ever since the days of Claude Hopkins (the first creative superstar), creative innovation
has been the growth hormone of this business. What the world needs now is some sensible risk-takers on both sides of the conference table.
Arthur Einstein Jr.
Marketing consultant
Arthur Einstein Advertising, New York