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Winning Gesture

December 27, 1987|Patrick Goldstein

MCA's legendary corporate reserve apparently doesn't extend to its record division, as witness its full-page ad in Hits music mag. The top 10 MCA pop executives (including music group pres Irving Azoff) are shown celebrating a successful year by all giving a familiar obscene digital gesture.

Is MCA thumbing its nose at its rivals? "Not at all," said label exec Larry Solters, who helped create the ad. "We're not saying (bleep) you to the rest of the industry. It's just a commentary that we're this bunch of misfits who made it. A lot of people were betting against us, saying Irving Azoff couldn't run a record company or operate in a big corporate atmosphere. And we proved them wrong."

As for the ad itself--if the pose looks suspiciously familiar, you're right. It's a take-off on the back cover of the "Animal House" sound-track album, which features John Belushi et al. in the same gesture. "We wanted to run that picture, but our lawyers said we couldn't use it--even though it was an MCA album," Solters said. "Then Irving had a better idea--he said, 'Big deal, let's do it ourselves.' "

Worried about how the ad goes over with MCA top guns like Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg? "They've given us the freedom to drive our truck wherever we want," he said. "I'm sure they're very proud of the record label."

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