Letters

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

As a “young professional” who reads Adweek, and read Neilan Tyree’s Man About Town column “Word to the wise: If you can’t say something nice…” [Adweek, Nov. 18], I want to be sure I understood you correctly.

Based on your column, it is not OK to say bad things about others within the industry to your friends via an e-mail. However, it is OK to implicate someone in a nationally published industry magazine as long as you don’t use their name?

As long as you only cite the agency they work at (Hill, Holliday) and their position (president/creative director), and reference a time and an incident (Scott Garrett … didn’t get a job at Hill, Holliday), then no one will know whose “character” you’re “assassinating”?

Frank Lopresti

Art director

Clarke Goward Advertising

Boston

Music Videos and Advertising: A Few Wrong Notes

After reading Mallorre Dill’s interesting “Musical Mergers” story [Creative, Nov. 11], I was disappointed by a couple of things.

First, as the person who produced the music for Nike “Freestyle” in all its iterations, I was disappointed that only Afrika Bambaataa was credited for that project’s music—even though I do understand that a story was being told about recording artists benefiting from advertiser underwriting.

When discussing the blending of advertising with other forms of content, I feel it is vital for your readers to understand that a star does not need to be attached to a brand to make it cool or to give it a “grassroots” appeal; instead, the focus should be on creating great, entertaining content in whatever format you choose. I expect that people recall the Nike “Freestyle” campaign more than any of the other work the story highlights because the content is very unique and engaging, even if you don’t know who Afrika Bambaataa, Jeff Elmassian or any of the featured ballplayers are. Hal Curtis and the Wieden + Kennedy team’s understanding of this distinction is why they retain clients and continue to sweep awards shows.

Jeff Elmassian

Creative director

Endless Noise

Los Angeles

What band in their right mind would not want to do something like this?” Sev vocalist Danny Schools poses this question about music videos doubling as commercials in “Musical Mergers.” The answer: a band seeking longevity and financial solvency.

Typically, 50 percent of music video production costs is recoupable against the band’s recording advance. Chances are, most record labels wouldn’t spend nearly as much on a music video for a new band as they are spending for videos that will double as ads. Yes, a new band might get more exposure in this scenario, but if they don’t sell enough records, they’re also more in the hole to their label than they might have been, even if the label shares the production costs with the brand. And as Bill Sandwick at HSI Productions said, “brands don’t have to pay a fortune for the artists.” In other words, most of the risk is moved away from the label and brand and on to the artists.

Now, if an agency had chosen to license an existing song, 50 percent of the fees paid to the label would go toward recouping the band’s advance. Plus, songs work best in ads when there’s an existing emotional connection to the song that can be extended to the brand.

So, Schools, would you rather be known as the band that did that Pepsi song (and might not see a cent from its record sales) or the band known for its music overall (while actually earning an income)?

Julie D’Angelo

Owner

Music for the Masses

Los Angeles

Context is King

Lois Wyse, please get over yourself. Not just you, this whole industry. Don’t you get it? Content is over, it’s all about context. Nobody’s reading ad copy anymore except egomaniac creative directors.

Readers sure aren’t. Face it, “Sale! Now!” will do much more for a client’s bottom line than “diffident” will. Drop Lord Ogilvy or Mr. Bernbach into today’s media environment and they might both being feeling rather diffident on the way to the unemployment office. To Lois Wyse and others wrapped up in the minutiae of ad copy, please awaken to the reality that it don’t matter so much. Excuse me, doesn’t matter in the slightest. The proudest moments of my 10-year ad career did not involve clever use of a Thesaurus, but rather clever use of my brain to develop fresh marketing solutions for a client.

Joe Kazmierski

Copywriter

Philadelphia