Keep Up the Good Work: Now More Than Ever

Being a writer at Ogilvy & Mather here in New York, and working across the street from Engine 54, which lost 14 firemen at the World Trade Center, I feel horribly helpless daily. And insignificant.

Thank you, Alex Bogusky, for putting into words what all of us here have been feeling for the past two weeks in “Being There” [A&C, Sept. 24], and reminding us why it’s OK to keep doing what we do best.

Susan Rosenzweig
Ogilvy & Mather
New York

From Dog Bones to Dental Floss: Targeting Goes Too Far

Susan Montgomery’s “The Untargeted” [A&C, Sept. 10] never rings more true than now.

My friends and I often discuss those priceless childhood days of innocence. The world was a much nicer place then. Simpler. And life, full of discoveries with all its twists and turns, had more meaning. Or did it?

I am a creative director. I worked in Chicago and Boston before returning to my hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. After working in the bigs, I’m now happy in a regional agency with some large national and small local accounts.

I’ve witnessed the minute compartmentalization of our lives take place over the years as well. At the supermarket, thanks to bar-code technology, I’m niched as a single parent, 35-50, who shops an average of 2.3 times a week with a preference for salmon, Barilla pasta and Mighty Dog beef-basted bones. I go home and in my mailbox are promotional offers for wine (for the salmon) and coupons for Four Brothers tomato sauce and dental floss (they must think I’m eating the dog bones). I get a phone call from someone telling me that although I didn’t win the drawing for the John Deere rider-mower, I have won free rug shampooing for two rooms in my house. Huh?

The funny thing is, many people don’t even know that they are being placed into these “demographic silos.”

Unfortunately, we brought this on ourselves. By improving, researching, refining and redefining the parameters of marketing, we’ve created all these headaches. And now, we all have to live with them.

The column stirred my emotions and reminded me that there are so many more important things in life. Thanks for the memories.

Sam Bregande
Executive creative director
Latorra, Paul & McCann Advertising
Syracuse, N.Y.

Name Dropping: Pros and Cons of Acronyms

I share the view expressed by Harold Levine in “Up With People” [A&C, Sept. 3] that the advertising industry has lost the “power of the individual.”

In my opinion, this is one reason why the industry has become commodity-like and agencies have been relegated to their vendor status, serving “customers instead of clients.”

Interestingly, I have found that many agencies still believe that this change in status is primarily “client”-induced and not a function of how agencies themselves have diminished their professional stature and high value-added potential.

Richard E. Robbins
Managing director
Marketing Management Consulting
New York

I got into the business 30 years ago after reading Jerry Della Femina’s book. I wanted to work in a business where the guy (or gal) whose name was on the door was responsible for the product his (or her) agency put out. I think our business started to change about the same time the sports pages began focusing on baseball contracts instead of batting averages. That’s when the advertising press got giddy about consolidation. The chief movers were no longer creatives but accountants.

I hope Levine is right about it not being too late. I’m not a big fan of firms that are identified by initials instead of names.

Neil Scanlan
Freelance copywriter
Tulsa, Okla.

I’m not sure why this article struck such a chord with me, but I couldn’t help blurting out the phrase “Oh, please!” when I read “Up With People.”

With all due respect, how is it that an agency loses anything by becoming an acronym of the agency world?

The people that “do the work” are long gone, cashed out and moved into consulting. Putting your name on the door isn’t about branding as much as it is about ego! It matters not if a company calls itself the “Advertising Specialty Shop” (A.S.S.). If the company creates marketing programs that are well researched, well thought out and deliver an impact with awesome creative, they will win business and reputation regardless of the name on the door.

We are a hip and trendy bunch in the ad game and a name is made through being ballsy and the best at what you do regardless of whether your name is on the door or not. It doesn’t undercut the creative energy that still drives this business. It perhaps levels the egos so other people can fit in the same room with the partners.

Times have indeed changed and advertising is a very big business. But I take issue with the fact that the creativity has been squashed as a result.

Greg Morey
W2 Digital
Tampa, Fla.