Merger Talk

I’ve been following the comments being made about Michael Schrage’s column (‘Direct Impact,’ Feb. 17) concerning Lester Wunderman’s book, Being Direct. In response to a letter written by the managing director of O&M Direct in Los Angeles (Letters, April 28), I’d have to say he read the column and not the book. If he had read the book, he would understand that the purpose of the 1973 merger with Wunderman’s agency on the part of Young & Rubicam–of which I was ceo at the time–was to fulfill our holistic corporate mission ‘to be the best in responsible communication on a worldwide basis.’

The directors of Y&R had determined in 1972 that the best path to the future was integrated advertising. Read Wunderman’s book on our merger discussions in 1973. He relates a conversation that he and I had at the time. ‘The world was changing, (Edward Ney) said . . . Advertisers no longer wanted separate agencies that did general advertising, public relations, direct marketing or sales promotion. They wanted a single strategy well executed in all disciplines.’ David Ogilvy’s book on advertising came 10 years later in 1983. By then, almost all of the major agencies were going in the same direction.

As to the bragging about creativity and the practice of integrated advertising and having ‘a way of making the process work,’ we’re happy that our good friends at O&M have discovered them. From Wunderman’s book: ‘Today, we share such accounts as Ford, Philip Morris, Du Pont, Swissair, Andersen Consulting, Xerox, AT&T, Clorox, Taco Bell, Viacom, Chevron and Sears . . . our belief in ‘best alone and better together’ has created a partnership of equals in which we share our skills to help build our clients’ businesses.’ Enough yet?

Edward N. Ney

Chairman, board of advisors

Burson-Marsteller, New York

Balancing Act

As far as Ellen viewers looking for self-validation (Postscript, April 21), Debra Goldman misses the point.

I didn’t need Ellen to help me become more comfortable with who I am. But thanks to the show’s smart balance of humor and conflict, I guarantee you my heterosexual friends sure did.

Risk, humor and the honest portrayal of millions of Americans notwithstanding, I call that a success.

David P. Rossi

Art director

Resource, San Francisco

Culture Shock

David Lubars’ review of the new Lifesavers spot (Best Spots, May 12) describes the music as a ‘Jamaican-sounding jingle.’ Could it be possible that he’s never heard of the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mombaso? It’s one thing for him to say he doesn’t like their music. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion. But it’s another thing altogether to find he cannot distinguish their truly unique sound from Jamaican reggae or calypso.

How many other chief creative officers are this culturally clueless?

Mark S. Robinson

Senior vp, managing director

Spike DDB, New York

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