Tylenol - The Arts Strike Back...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 28 May 97 16:07:26 -0700
Subject: Tylenol - The Arts Strike Back...
[Here it is... Excedrin(tm) headache #3 -- arts bashing by Madison Avenue!
Perhaps we should focus on some other analgesics to Alleve(tm)iate this nasty
situation: aspirin, acetaminophen (generic, that is), ibuprofen, naproxen
sodium, ... There are lots of analgesics to choose from, y'know... -psl]
Forwarded-by: Daniel Steinberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Melissa Kleinbart <Melmakbart@aol.com>
Subject: my letter to Tylenol
You may think I'm crazy and have too much time on my hands, but in fact I've
been wanting to write the following letter for some time now because I am
sick and tired of the way this society views artists and our art forms. We
are the only highly developed nation that places sports as a higher priority
than the Arts, and I think it stinks!!! I really believe that if every
child were involved in some sort of artistic endeavor throughout their
childhood, it would solve a lot of our teen-crime problems. I know it's
not a cure-all, but I feel really strongly about this and would love to hear
feedback from you all.
This is a letter I'm sending to the McNeil Corporation (the company that
To whom it may concern:
Your company has been airing a commercial on television for Extra
Strength Tylenol which I find very offensive. In this ad, a husband is
thrilled about avoiding an evening at the ballet due to his wife's headache.
However, after taking Extra Strength Tylenol, his wife informs him that her
headache is gone and she is ready for their night out. With great defeat,
he suggests that she bring the Tylenol to the ballet, implying that
attending such an event will cause him to develop a headache. Not only does
this commercial lack good taste and humor, but it has convinced me to stop
buying your product altogether.
I am not easily offended by television, media, etc., but as a
professional musician it infuriates me to see a major company promoting
the ridiculous stereotype that going to an arts event is a terribly
unpalatable experience. Contrary to your commercial's insinuation, going
to the ballet would probably relieve one's headache and give one an
opportunity to experience two wonderful forms of expression; dance and
In my opinion, an honorable corporation is one that uses its resources
to better society and encourage education on every level. With this
ad your company is reinforcing a common misconception that arts events are
only for high-brow audiences and couldn't possibly appeal to the average
American. During a time when arts organizations throughout North America
are facing major federal funding cuts, and struggling to acquire wider
audiences for their survival, do you really think it is responsible
advertising to portray the ballet as a boring, unfulfilling way to spend an
evening? Before airing such insulting ads, maybe the leaders of your
company should attend the ballet and symphony more regularly to learn what
a strong influence the arts have on those who embrace them.
We all have the potential to enrich our lives through music, dance, and
all other art forms. Unfortunately corporations such as yours who
belittle these cultural endeavors dissuade many people from exploring new
avenues of expression, emotion, and communication. In the future, you
might wish to reconsider the image you are conveying to a public which is
easily swayed by the ideas presented through advertising.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Associate Concertmaster, San Francisco Opera Orchestra
From: Cathy Mendelsohn <email@example.com>
I think this is a great letter! I know the ad you're talking about.
Maybe you should contact Saatchi & Saatchi/NY too. They're Tylenol's ad
agency and the ones who created the ad:
Saatchi & Saatchi, Advertising
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 463-2000
Contact: Edward Wax
© 1997 Peter Langston