Risky Business
Your article “1998 Proves It’s Not Just About the Work” [The Year in Review, Jan. 4] says the ad industry’s creative torchbearers are concerned that clients such as Miller and Nissan, by firing their top creative agencies, are sending the wrong message, one that could “dampen the delicate risk-taking spirit” of even the most daring agency. Are you kidding?
Sure, we have to be able to generate advertising that, as Mary Moore said, makes sweaty palms. But if product isn’t moving, all the Gold Lions in the world mean nothing.
Of course, breakthrough work is essential, but it must never be born in a vacuum of creatives talking just to each other. “We” may have all been in Cannes, but maybe next year “we” should invite clients’ distributors and everyone else who is in the sales loop. Let’s face it: Creatives oohing and aahing over each other’s work is masturbatory if it isn’t intrinsically tied to sales. David Ogilvy would never have produced something as irrelevant as the aptly named “Dick” campaign, and we must pity the shop that forgets that we are, after all, in business.
Who says it’s “great” advertising? Obviously not consumers.
Jack Cuffari
President, Cuffari & Co., Montclair, N.J.
The Agency Conundrum
I disagree with your article describing the rivalry between traditional agencies and entrepreneurial “interactive” shops [IQ Interactive Report, Jan. 18]. The premise seems to be that an identity crisis exists for companies that perform interactive services for clients because of the perceived negative baggage that accompanies the term “agency.”
Please recognize there are some of us in the industry who view our role as pure marketing communications professionals and believe this semantic battle is much ado about nothing. Some of us believe that branding is about branding and that an agency should be about serving its clients’ needs, be they TV ads, traditional print work or innovative online initiatives. In this regard, I’m not sure it’s our job to make the Internet feel safe for advertisers anymore than it’s our job to be advocates for any other medium. After all, online is but one means to an end, at least to those of us who feel it’s important to build brands and achieve marketing goals for our clients.
Given the choice of being referred to as “transactive content integrators” or as an “agency,” I’ll stick with agency, and let clients evaluate our work, both online and traditional, on its merits.
Steve Koskela
Senior vice president, finance, Think New Ideas, Los Angeles
For the Record
Some of the Tide credits in Best Spots [Creative, Jan. 18] were not originally provided by Saatchi & Saatchi: Tod Seisser, executive creative director; Enza Mullen, creative director/art director; Leslie Goldman, creative director/copywriter.
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