Is That Your Final Answer? Meet the $500,000 Man

Iwas amused by an item in Shoptalk about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire [Aug. 21]. I was indirectly cited by Steve Klein as “the guy from the previous show who took up about half of the time.”

Steve neglected to mention the reason I needed so much time—I was in the process of winning $500,000. Additionally, after using up all of my lifelines at $8,000, I was able to sustain an effort that Regis Philbin characterized on the air as, “The greatest comeback in the history of the show!”

While I apologize to Steve for the inconvenience, I considered the experience time well spent.

Phil Gibbons

Account executive


Los Angeles

Editor’s note: We had to know—what $8,000 question devoured Phil Gibbons’ final lifeline? Says Mr. G.: “I was asked, ‘What actor starred and debuted in the 1970 film Hercules in New York?’

“The four options were Robert Duvall, Nick Nolte, Robert DeNiro and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It seems easy, and I probably would have guessed Arnold if I was out of lifelines. But I had a recollection of DeNiro doing low-budget flicks about that time, and I had seen several contestants get tricked into answering wrong questions that seemed obvious. Also, my lifeline’s specialty was trash films of the ’70s, so I knew he would know it.”

The winning answer: Arnold.

Coca-Cola Campaign Leaves a Bad Taste

Barbara Lippert’s “Liquid Gold” [Critique, Aug. 28] is really Coke’s fool’s gold.

Humor has long been advertising’s escape route for parity products: Make them laugh, and people might remember you fondly at purchase time. It’s easier than finding product differences that mean anything to the consumer.

But lately, agencies and clients have abused the privilege. Cliff Freeman’s Coke ads are—in the words of a nonadvertising friend—”rude and crude.” Lowe Lintas’ Ball Park Franks work turned consumers into devious scavengers—and likely cost Lowe the account. Even Goodby’s lizards got nasty at the end.

It’s bad enough that advertising insults the intelligence of the consumers it tries to convince. Must it also now kick them in the groin to make the sale? It’s much more sad than funny.

Tom Cammarata

Principal, creative director

Coyote Hill Creative

Middletown, Calif.