Reality TV makes advertising look like a paragon of feminist values

Barbara Lippert’s piece on The Swan [Critique, May 31] was particularly witty … and disturbing.

Compared with most reality TV, advertising is a paragon of feminist values, but it makes one wonder what the next generation of copywriters, weaned on Miss Universe Fear Factor and dating sites like HotOrNot.com, will churn out. She’s right about the sexualized behavior, but it’s even more offensive when the shows portray the experience as some kind of self-actualization. In The New York Times recently, one Dr. Aserinsky, a psychiatrist who studies the mass media, talked about the “insatiable appetite for acknowledgement” he sees in people under 30. Perhaps parents should focus their kids on the commercials. It’s ironic indeed when advertising messages are more “empowering” than the programming they support.

Dorothy Crenshaw
Stanton Crenshaw Communications
New York

Riney’s legacy of trustworthiness is alive and well in San Francisco

It was very frustrating to see the Adweek Online poll [May 31] in which 36 percent of respondents said they still think San Francisco advertising should not be “trusted.”

San Francisco advertising has been very responsible during most of its history. It was only for a few years that there was an aberration of, let’s say, self-indulgence. Or what Paul Venables called “wanton advertising excess” [“After the Gold Rush, A&C, May 24].

The true spirit of San Francisco advertising is that of Hal Riney. He created work that was strategically sound and spectacularly executed, that was admired and rewarded by the global ad community. His agency begat Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein and just about every other creative agency in town, in one way or another.

Of his work for Ronald Reagan, Riney said recently, “It was attractive, it was beautifully executed, and it got a lot of attention. It is fundamentally true—based on fact.” That is the core belief of San Francisco advertising. It certainly sounds trustworthy to me.

Jeff Atlas
Atlas Advertising
San Francisco

Crack about Marquez sisters was demeaning and callous

Joyce King Thomas was very callous in her attempt to be a critic when she compared the Marquez sisters to William Hung [Best Spots, May 17]. Albertina (my godmother) and Nerza (my aunt) have been singing since the early ’50s and were very famous in their heyday, both in Cuba and the U.S. My memories are filled with their very beautiful ballads and love songs. Once again, people who have no business in the critic field strike again.

Miguel Jiminez
West Haven, Conn.

For the record: WWE SmackDown! airs on UPN, not the WB [Regional News, June 14].

Adweek welcomes letters. Send them to tnudd@adweek.com, or fax (646) 654-5365. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.