The Moments of Truth
Icouldn’t agree more with your article “MasterCard Moments” [Creative, April 5], praising the high-quality creative work McCann-Erickson unleashed for the campaign. These days, McCann’s creative is unsurpassed, not only in its work for paying clients but also its pro bono services.
The agency’s work for our public-service campaign, “Do good. Mentor a child,” created for U.S. Save the Children, touches the individual the same way the MasterCard ads do. The PSAs blend humor and poignancy to impress the fact that anyone can and should be a mentor. Regular people are featured in the PSAs doing something imperfectly–a man failing, again and again, to hit the baseball pitched to him by his mentee, for example.
At the end of the spot, a halo is drawn over the mentor’s head. Mentors don’t have to be perfect, but as mentors, they deserve the halo that stands out brightly against the black-and-white film.
Thumbs up to McCann-Erickson for all their fabulous creative.
Ruth A. Wooden
The Advertising Council, New York

The Larger Picture
Iread with interest your roundtable feature titled “The Big Picture” [Creative, March 29]. While I agree with Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby and John Hegarty on why there are so few great clients, I would take it one step further. Yes, agencies are justifiably frustrated by clients that breed layers instead of real leaders. Yes, this does severely restrict the chance for great ideas to be cultivated and championed. But what about the organizational environment on the agency side?
In most cases, the creatives who produce top work are insulated from meaningful relationship building with clients by as many bureaucratic layers as found on the client side. In my experience, one of the reasons clients are routinely frustrated with their advertising is the result of an overabundance of layers on both sides.
I believe that Clow, Goodby and Hegarty would admit that when they’ve produced great work, there was meaningful contact, collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas by an extremely small group of people representing both agency and client. In almost all of those situations, many of the layered “rituals” of the typical client/agency relationship were unnecessary because an informal but highly energized environment was created, either intentionally or intuitively, by key participants from both sides.
I think it’s time for clients and agencies to recognize that such a critical product as advertising is best created by small, carefully chosen and highly empowered groups–where the “talent” from both parties can share ownership. If both sides take responsibility for the insulation and mediocrity that too many layers breed, then perhaps what’s now the notable exception can one day be the norm.
Michael Markowitz
Michael Markowitz & Associates,
Santa Fe, N.M.

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