Why bite the hand that feeds you?

In your article on the ramifications of the ONDCP indictments against former Ogilvy & Mather executives [Jan. 12], I was shocked to see individuals who make their livelihood in the advertising business badmouthing the industry so badly.

Attorney Rick Kurnit suggests, “the model of the industry … is based on a kickback scam,” and says, “advertising has always operated in a kind of fantasy land outside the norms of business.” Consultant Arthur Anderson reports that many agency people he talks to say overbilling clients is “endemic.” And then consultant Dick Roth says, “We all know agencies are notoriously bad at running their own businesses.”

How can clients respect the advice and guidance of their agencies after reading those comments?

Come on, fellas, is the agency business really that bad? If it is, then the 4A’s, the ANA and the AAF should start running conferences on business ethics. If it isn’t, and we are dealing only with an isolated situation, then why are Rick, Arthur and Dick beating up on the business that feeds them?

Or perhaps we should think of returning to the era of entrepreneurial operations that focused on producing great advertising rather than corporate structures that focus mostly on the bottom line. In addition, the business was more fun then.

Harold Levine
Founding chairman
Levine Huntley Schmidt & Beaver
New York

For the Record: In our Creative All-Stars package [Jan. 19], the name of photographer Marcus Piggott was misspelled.

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