A Creative Defense
Inoted with surprise that your Nike feature story [“Where Did the Magic Go?” June 22] referred to Geoffrey Frost [Nike’s director of global advertising] as one whose “creative credentials are not extensive.”
I must correct you.
I have known Geoffrey Frost for more than 25 years, working with him at Scali, McCabe, Sloves and Foote, Cone & Belding. He is one of smartest, most strategic and best creative
people I’ve ever met. The Northwest Airlines work, which is referred to in the article, ran as recently as last year, by the way, and was voted the agency’s best commercial that year. Part of a campaign that pitched an airline on the doorstep of bankruptcy, the ad helped propel Northwest to an amazing turnaround. When Frost left for Nike, the load factors on that airline were the highest in history. And, no, none of this advertising was ever tested.
It’s disappointing to see a person’s career dismissed like this–especially when the real point is missed. The real point? That Nike had the good sense to hire a creative person for what really is a creative person’s job. The key skill in that job is evaluating advertising ideas, which is what creative directors do at major agencies. Yet few clients will hire creative people. Instead, they hire someone whose duties were managing a relationship, which is only a minor part of the client-side job.
The Nike situation is interesting precisely because there is a new dynamic operating–not because there are two agencies [Wieden & Kennedy and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners]. There have always been multiple agencies.
Like any good creative person, Frost has ideas about what makes good advertising. Now, that may make some people uncomfortable, but I would certainly rather have my work criticized by Frost than by a former packaged-goods account executive–or even by a reporter who doesn’t have her facts right. This would be a person whose “creative credentials” are far less extensive than Frost’s.
George Miller
Senior vice president, creative director
Foote, Cone & Belding, New York

Worm in the Apple
Lost in all the Seinfeld hoopla [“Apple and Jerry? Get Out!” May 11] was the computer maker’s decision to withdraw the Dalai Lama from its “Think Different” ad campaign in Asia. The company stated it “did not want to offend anyone.”
The embarrassing fact is that just by pulling the ad, Apple has deeply insulted not only the Dalai Lama but everyone who has stood up for a company that built its image around the idea of the little guy vs. big brother.
I’ve fought for Macs countless times when the bean counters and MIS people wanted PCs. One thing’s for sure: Apple can no longer rely on my “blind” support next time it’s in trouble.
Tore Claesson
Executive creative director
Anderson & Lembke, Amsterdam

For the Record
Gramercy Group, New York, will continue to handle media strategy and creative duties for Eli Lilly’s Humalog brand [Adweek, June 15].
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