Content Too Hot For Ritz To Handle

According to The New York Times, Ritz-Carlton is objecting to foul language and brand-diminishing storylines in a book of short stories it commissioned from Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. The luxury hotel chain planned to provide the book, Turndown Tales, as part of its turndown service.

One of the stories in Turndown Tales is by the novelist Jodi Picoult, who wrote about a woman so fed up with her family that she decamps for the weekend to a hotel (as a matter of fact, a Ritz-Carlton). Another, by the crime novelist John Connolly, centers on a man spending the night at a favorite hotel (yes, a Ritz-Carlton) just after the death of his beloved wife.
Judith Curr, the publisher of Atria, acknowledged that bad things do happen in Turndown Tales, which was originally scheduled for publication in early June. Some people die and others, perhaps, do not behave as well as they might. “But I’m not going to go back to Jodi Picoult and tell her, ‘This woman can’t leave her children for the weekend,’ ” Ms. Curr said. “I’m keen on doing a collection to reach readers, but I’m not going to compromise my authors’ integrity to do so.”

Curr’s response, while right on, is something you’d never hear from an ad agency. Agencies like to give a client exactly what they want, even when it’s bad for them or makes no sense at all.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.