I don't quite agree with the notion that Robert Fico's 'detergent campaign' can be regarded as infantile [Letter to the Editor: Fico believes Slovaks to be infantile", Vol.8 No.16, April 29 - May 5].
A few years ago in South Africa, where I live, Mercedes came up with a TV ad reconstructing an accident whereby a man driving a Mercedes went over the edge at a pass called Chapman's Peak near Cape Town. He fell 110 meters to the rocky beach and, despite many broken bones, survived. Mercedes emphasised that had the man been in another make of car, he would not have survived.
A little later, BMW came up with a TV ad showing us the same pass, but now the car driving there was, of course, a BMW. The car was going fast, but took the hairpin curves with ease. The ad said: "this one takes the bends!".
Mercedes sued BMW, and the fight became hot news. We all knew that it wasn't the steering system of the Mercedes that failed; the man simply had been driving too fast and somehow lost control. We also knew that it made little difference whether you drive a Mercedes or a BMW, but the ad and the consequent court hearings were quite comical and we didn't regard either company as having treated us like children.
It is the duty of a salesman to attract publicity, and Mr Fico is doing just that. The fact that you reacted, no matter in what fashion, is proof of that.
13. May 2002 at 0:00