Why would Pepsi listen to Bill O’Reilly?

I would like to thank Eleftheria Parpis for her frank and insightful article “A Ludacris Position” [A&C, Feb. 17]. As a member of the ad community and of the hip-hop culture the Pepsi campaign is geared toward, I was doubly disappointed by Pepsi’s choice to drop the Ludacris campaign due to political pressure from a man who is hardly qualified to comment on what is appropriate for urban youth, only to later settle with the very community it should have been focused on reaching in the first place.

I am a 24-year-old African American male working in New York. I am a fan of rap music, and while I am not a fan of Ludacris in particular, I was truly offended to see Ozzie Osbourne’s spot replacing his. They are artists, not saints. They were strategically chosen as spokesmen based solely on how Pepsi perceived their relative celebrity and their ability to position the brand as “cool.” They both have extremely profane tongues, and both are very popular with the MTV demographic. I suppose if Ludacris had bitten the head off a bat, his contract would still be intact. I’m glad I drink Sprite.

Nicholas Pelzer
Office manager
Stasi & Co.
New York

I agree with Eleftheria Parpis that Pepsi should get a backbone. In the past decade in particular, I have seen Pepsi as a brand that wants to “ride the edge” of new trends and what’s next. The Osbournes have already hit their peak, whereas Ludacris is an artist who still has a clear uphill road, as you mentioned, with his multiplatinum release and two upcoming films.

Pepsi shouldn’t care what Bill O’Reilly of Fox News thinks. It should just care about its core consumers, and I doubt they are the ones who filed complaints.

Griffin Farley
Soul Rhyme Reason
Los Angeles

Since when do we choose partners only on price?

Imagine, if you will:

Client: “We’re being sued for product liability. What law firm should we use?”

Client purchasing agent: “Let’s send out an RFP. We’ll ask 10 law firms to give us their strategy, background checks on the lawyers, how much they earn individually and how much the firm will earn on this case. Then we will narrow it down to three and have them come in and present their defense. We will then choose a firm and negotiate the best price possible.”

Client: “Will we win the case?”

Client purchasing agent: “How do I know? I’m not a lawyer.”

Do you buy the cheapest food for your family? The cheapest house? The cheapest clothes? When did we decide to evaluate strategic partners based on costs rather than on return on investment?

Steve Galbincea
Director of business development
Arras Group

Billions of people did buy something from a clown

In “The Rules of Presenting” [A&C, Feb. 24], Steffan Postaer mentioned David Ogilvy’s remark that “nobody ever bought anything from a clown.” I have the utmost respect for both admen, but they’re quite wrong. Ronald McDonald, the longtime Bozo-ish spokesman for McDonald’s, is indeed a clown. Always an exception to the rule, I suppose.

Rick Rosenberg
Freelance copywriter
Los Angeles

‘Hoist himself on his own petard’? Duck and cover!

Our exploding drug czar! In Wendy Melillo’s news story “ONDCP Makes Do With Less” [Feb. 17], I was captivated by the words of the unnamed congressional source who suggested lawmakers will give drug czar John Walters “almost as much as he wants and let him hoist himself on his own petard.”

The mental picture is almost too much to bear. Hamlet speaks of the engineer “hoist with his own petard,” which means “blown up by his own bomb” (a plan that backfires?). Even more hilarious is the vision inspired by the French interpretation of petard—”breaking wind.” How do you suppose we should visualize the intent of the speaker in this case?

Stan Beals
Managing director
Jones Lundin Beals

IQ’s Top 50 suffers from inflated reporting

I am awestruck by Adweek IQ’s recent Top 50 listing of interactive agencies [Feb. 3]. While I’m sure much of the data is accurate, the list includes what surely must be the most profitable agency on the planet, with $14 million in revenue from a mere 26 employees. It also includes head counts not seen since the peak of the dot-com boom.

While inflated reporting is commonplace, identifying all these companies as within the Top 50 without some serious due diligence is a disservice to those who have more realistic reporting practices. Either attempt some verification or drop the numerical listing. Otherwise, we should all submit next year’s numbers now and worry later about their accuracy.

Ron Fierman
Digital Pulp
New York

For the Record: Due to a typographical error, the story about Grey Global Group’s Ed Meyer [Feb. 24] misstated an operating margin for Interpublic Group. That number should have been 10.8 percent.