Brand Teams: Fade or Stay?

To anyone who’s ever pondered what the dying cry of the last lumbering stegosaurus might have sounded like, may I direct your attention to [“Structural Damage,” Art & Commerce, April 2].

In his fearful indictment of team-based agency architecture, Nick Carpathia argues that teams compromise creative work. Unfortunately, this very argument betrays a pitiful absence of creativity.

The fact is [that] in an effective team environment resourceful creatives are in a far better position to do great work and sell it than in the traditional departmental hierarchy.

Teams empower creatives by emphasizing their responsibility for the campaigns they create—and the clients they serve. They eliminate the layers of approval which so often dilute and sabotage great ideas before a client ever sees them. They allow for dynamic interplay between disciplines, bringing more synergistic thinking to the creative process. And they open up client access to every team member, stripping account people of their oft-abused gatekeeper status.

The truth is teams take away virtually all of the excuses traditionally trotted out by creatives to excuse their lack of success: “The CD killed it.” “The AE sabotaged it.” “The media department recommended ’15s.'”

Come to think of it, maybe that’s what makes them so scary.

Nat Gutwirth

Senior Vice President, creative director

The Weightman Group


The Media Edge: No Stranger to the Cable Industry

In your article grading the media agencies [“Report Cards,” April 16], you mentioned that The Media Edge “was not a player in cable.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

In 1999, we invested $415,000,000 in cable. In 2000, we invested $440,000,000, and The Media Edge was chosen CAB Cable Agency of the Year. TME has been a leader for years in cable, as everybody in the cable business will tell you.

Robert E. Igiel

President, Broadcast Division

The Media Edge

New York

For the record:

Due to late filing, the numbers listed in “Report Cards” for WPP Group were estimated [April 16]. Official figures subsequently provided by the holding company indicate billings were up 25.7% to $67.225 billion in 2000; revenue rose 19.9% to $7.971 billion. Those figures keep WPP in the top spot among worldwide holding companies.

Financial figures from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners’ San Francisco office were omitted from the New York-based shop’s report card. Including those numbers, total billings for the agency were up 34% to $548 million in 2000, while revenue climbed 49% to $55 million.

That revenue surge was the largest among the 10 agencies judged in the Eastern region, and helps boost the shop from a C- to a B- in numbers. In turn, that raises the agency’s overall grade from a C+ to a B-.

In addition, the revenue figure of $55 million puts Kirshenbaum 39th, not 47th, among the top national agencies. The shop’s West Coast office, meanwhile, had billings of $130 million and revenue of $14 million last year, giving it the rank of 39th among Western agencies.

Grey Global Group reported revenue of $1.621 billion, making it the eighth-largest worldwide holding company.

Marketing Support in Chicago, with billings up 20% to $100 million and revenue up 17% to $14 million, ranks 42nd among the Midwest agencies.

At Bozell, Joan Dufresne was promoted to executive director of brand planning following the exit of Megan Kent, not Diana Tilley. Tilley was named to the newly created post of director of brand integration.

Marcia Stone, Bates’ Midwest creative chief, was promoted deputy creative director North America.

In “Casting Call” [Creative, April 9], Rob Feakins was not credited. He is co-creative director on Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners’ Revlon campaign.