LETTERS to the editor should be accompanied by a home and business telephone number so that they may be verified. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for brevity if necessary.Attack requires an answerIn spite of my late mother's admonition...

LETTERS to the editor should be accompanied by a home and business telephone number so that they may be verified. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for brevity if necessary.

Attack requires an answer

In spite of my late mother’s admonition to never get into a pissing match with a skunk, the incredible rudeness of Gary Prouk in attacking Claude Lessard’s contribution to Canadian television advertising requires an answer.

I can detect little reason in the selection (which I had considerable influence in effecting) for such vehement hatred: are we to blame the Bessies because Claude Lessard is better at encouraging and providing access for creative talent than Gary Prouk?

Mercifully, his outburst was cushioned in that kind of flatulent verbosity we normally only read from an ego-aroused Conrad Black, whom Prouk seems to have taken as his latest writing model.

As far as I’m concerned, the Bessies and the Spiess Award are much the richer for the addition of a Claude Lessard, a francophone who actually believes in Canada, even more, a Canadian who actually believes in Canada to the extent of keeping his agency both Canadian and excellent, and who has none of the inferiority complexes Gary Prouk displays in his boorish tirade, a disgraceful display from, thankfully, the last puffy remnant of Hogtown ignorance.

I consider this correspondence closed.

Graham Watt

Watt Burt Advertising


Prouk Award

In answer to Gary Prouk’s rococo complaint on our choice for the ’93 Spiess Award, may I suggest a ‘Prouk’ Award for 1994.

The Prouk Award would be given for efforts expended towards the destruction of our industry.

Gold to be awarded for acts ‘Proukish’ in content.

Craft awards would be awarded for minimalization technique, depreciation, snivelling, belittling, whining.

I must personally thank Mr. Prouk for this opportunity to underline the values the Spiess group saw in Mr. Lessard.

We saw constructive, positive support for others involved in the process of inventing effective television communications.

Bill Irish

Varied Visual Inventions

Thomasburg, Ont.

Stringent selection process

Not more than three feet from where I am writing this letter sits my Spiess award.

All around my office are reminders of various other industry recognition. None of them means as much to me as the Spiess.

It is with this respect that each year when the Spiess winner is being selected we are stringent, open and dedicated in the process.

And each of us is absolutely and totally aware of the reason a person is chosen. Because each of us has met that criteria. It’s emphasized even more as Fritz himself sits at the table. So we are then not just picking a winner but adding a person of similar commitment.

We all agreed the winner this year has provided a huge and welcoming canvas upon which the creative people in this country have been encouraged to perform.

That person was Claude Lessard. He owes no apology to anyone. We are all proud to have him at the table.

Terrence J. O’Malley


Executive Creative Director

Vickers & Benson Advertising


Excellent choice

Claude Lessard, leader and one of the prime architects of the incredibly successful Cossette advertising agency, was, in my view, an excellent choice for the Spiess Award.

In the sometimes less than civilized world of advertising, he stands out as someone who is a tough competitor, but a gracious one.

Since he does not choose to splatter his life and opinions all over the media, his story is not widely appreciated. Perhaps you should write it.

Among the things your readers may not know is the contribution he made to Scali McCabe Sloves in its early years. I, for one, have not forgotten.

Cossette became our partner in Quebec in around 1979. They were just beginning to make their presence felt in Montreal and were unknown in Toronto.

Claude was personally quite active in our new business development. He helped provide national credibility to the agency and gave me sound advice that continued beyond our business association.

His ability to combine humanity and civility with ferocious competitiveness is to be admired. He is a gentleman. By nature, not by pretension.

Presumably these qualities helped garner him this lifetime achievement award so widely and justly coveted.

The Spiess Award can be given to anyone connected with the advertising industry. Including clients.

Ray Verdon, now president of Nabisco Foods Group in the u.s., is a former recipient and was a member of the group of other distinguished past winners who selected Lessard.

Lessard’s career proves that civility and success need not be mutually exclusive.

The Spiess Award sets a good example by reaffirming this truth.

Richard Kelly

Richard Kelly & Co.


A matter of design

Why was the Ontario design community denied the opportunity to bring history, integrity and inspiration to a corporate identity for their coveted Art Gallery of Ontario as stated in Design Matters in the May 17 issue?

Bob Russell and Will Novosedlik are bang on in their criticism of this inappropriate and impotent wordmark.

Lisa Rotenberg

Account Director

Design Partners


Relational databases

You state in the Special Report entitled, ‘Direct Marketing in Financial Services,’ in the May 17 issue that relational databases have been so named because they contain information about customers that allows a company to build and nurture relationships with those customers (‘An alternative way to serve clients.’)

Appealing, but wrong.

Relational databases are individual files linked by common data.

For example, your social insurance number links together many files on your income (tax, unemployment insurance, pension plan, etc.) The ‘relation’ refers to the data, not the people.

Gray Hammond

Research Director

Quire – Market Information

Mississauga, Ont.