John Madden took some very hard hits last week in an Ad Age review of his Ramada Inn commercials, which has the ex-football coach giving boisterous chalk talks in a Ramada lobby. But the hotel chain tells us that business is up--in a currently "down" market--since Madden started appearing as spokesman last February. And he's unlikely to be benched: His contract's up in December, 1988.
Ad Age's Bob Garfield blitzed with these charges:
Madden is "gross. He has a big head. He has a big mouth. He has big features and big hands on a big body . . . (he) doesn't talk. He raves."
In two spots, Madden "hasn't bothered to learn his lines . . . (he) repeatedly casts his eyes down toward the cue cards."
Madden bumping into a camera-toting Japanese tourist is "sophomoric, racist."
But: "The whole campaign has been very positive for us," said Jerry Gelinas, Ramada senior marketing veep. "Call demand at our reservation centers is up 10% over a year ago." And Ramada hasn't heard a complaint about the Japanese tourist spot--"We felt it was done in very good humor and taste."