Real Media Riffs - Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

UNDULY JULIE -- Lately, we don't read the print edition of Advertising Age cover-to-cover, but we always look forward to its annual "Book of Tens." The special year-end edition is good stuff, encapsulating the ad industry's most significant milestones - from the perspective of the editors of Advertising Age, anyway - into one delightful read. But this year's edition could well be renamed the "Book of Julie." Julie who? Why Julie Roehm, of course. You know, the "Unruly Julie," Ad Age has been preoccupied with for the past several weeks. The trade pub's obsession with Roehm is evident in this week's chronicling of the past year's events. Roehm, whose ouster as senior vice president-marketing communications of Wal-Mart admittedly was one of the more sensational ad industry developments of the past year, gets 10 references in the first 10 pages of the "Book of Tens," including a photo, a silhouette, and not one, but two caricatures, including one gracing the magazine's cover depicting her spread eagle in a bra, tap pants and a feather boa.



Don't get us wrong, Roehm's a great story, and as a self-described "change agent," is fair game, but we've got to wonder what advertising historians in the year 2106 will think when they unearth Crain Communications' time capsule and pluck out this edition of the magazine. Well, the second thing they will think, after pondering, "What's a magazine?" That ancillary thought will be, "How shallow the advertising business must have been."

Okay, so it's been a shallow year. It was the year, after all, that News Corp. almost released a book and aired a TV special featuring O.J. Simpson confessing how he theoretically might have killed his wife. Almost. In the end, even News Corp. demonstrated some restraint, and scuttled what surely was a good story. So when the editors of Advertising Age proclaim that "unruly Julie conspired to become the top tabloid story of the year," we've really got to question what tabloid they are referring to specifically. The last time we took a ruler to the print edition of Advertising Age it measured 14 by 11 inches, or the approximate dimensions of a U.S. tabloid publication.

So Advertising Age, a little less Julie, please. And maybe a little more focus on the great journalism you are known for. This sensational stuff does all your hard-nosed reporting a real disservice. Even worse, it makes us look like pros by comparison.

Next story loading loading..