Letters: Just Plain Fun: The New Cynicism?

Just Plain Fun: The New Cynicism?

I enjoyed Eleftheria Parpis’ column “No Excuses” [A&C, Oct. 7].

Of course, there can be no going back to whichever “creative revolution” we just had, but I do think the worm is turning and going forward.

We’re onto something new, and my prognostication is that it won’t be about wry, cynical, apocalyptic, fun-at-someone-else’s-expense messages, but about semi-innocent, carefree, just-plain-fun, let’s-live-and-laugh-while-we-can-without-making-fun-of-anyone messages.

Nike is about “Play” and “Tag.” Target, Old Navy and our recent work for Fanta with the “Fantanas” is about reviving and reinventing a lost feeling of fun, sweetness, goofiness, and childlike-ness. No harm, no foul.

It’s about reversing the sophisticated trend toward irony and returning to straight-ahead clarity for fun’s sake.

It’s definitely a current in the business, though I haven’t seen anyone identify it. It remains to be seen if it becomes the business or just transitions us into the next new creative thing.

It will be fun while it lasts, though. You know?

David Fowler

Executive creative director

Ogilvy & Mather

New York

Advertising: A (Necessary) Part of the Marketing Funnel

J ack Feuer puts it in different terms, but once again the question being asked is if advertising is dead or dying—or jumping the shark [A&C, Sept. 30]. Jumping the shark is the buzzword that refers to the minute when a television show goes into decline.

I run an agency group that specializes in promotions—a field that logically benefits from any decline in standard advertising. If you believe, however, that advertising is dying, I think you are wrong. But if you believe that advertising is showing its limitations and needs to be part of a comprehensive mix of marketing strategies, we agree.

Marketing is a huge funnel, with broad branding messages at the wide end and specific, tailored messages at the narrow end. When the economy gets weaker, advertisers care more about each individual sale, so the emphasis moves down the funnel. In terms of marketing disciplines, they move from network advertising, to spot, to promotions and direct. Said differently, when times get tough, marketing dollars move closer to the point-of-purchase.

But like any funnel, this process only works with both the wide and the narrow ends. There are few elements in the marketing mix that can create the overall bang, or awareness, that standard advertising does. At the same time, advertising is probably less effective at tailoring the energy it creates to individual consumer actions, and similarly lacks the ability to convert that energy into immediate sales.

It makes better business sense to admit that general advertising cannot do all marketing tasks single-handedly; it needs to be one part of a comprehensive marketing mix.

Jeremy Pagden


The Integer Group

Denver, Colo.

‘Work Ethic’ Makes Creative’s Job Easier—and Harder

S ally Hogshead’s column “Work Ethic, Ugh” [A&C, Sept. 16] is on the door to my office. (It replaces Dave Anderson’s “When you know what you’re doing,” a tribute to the late Johnny Unitas.)

It will be there for quite a while.

Thanks to Hogshead’s column, my job of writing and supervising other creatives on retail accounts is both easier and harder.

Easier, because it clearly states what I’ve been encouraging others to do: work harder.

Harder, because I must lead by example. Thanks, I think.

Peter Van Bloem

Creative supervisor

Ogilvy & Mather

New York