Beached wails

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Time was, advertisers of one product were not allowed to use the name of a rival product in their ads. Thus, margarine-makers had to refer to butter as "the high-priced spread." Looking back on it, Madison Avenue seemed a more savory, if less salty, street in those days.

Well, folks from a much higher-priced spread, The Hamptons, think maybe it's time for a return to the good old days. Residents of Long Island, N.Y.'s sybaritic enclave of celebrities, stock brokers and social-climbing summer renters stacked 12 to a shack, are mad as Martha Stewart with a hangnail over a newspaper ad by the Bermuda tourism commission that gently tweaks the tony New York beach towns.

The ad reasons that a weekend in Bermuda beats a trek to the Hamptons because, among other things, "Everyone in Bermuda is courteous and friendly. Everyone in the Hamptons is from New York." You get the idea.

Hamptons officials have officially protested the campaign and demanded future ads be scrapped. Residents are fuming, taking the whole thing very seriously. Bermuda officials seem amused by the fuss. Wouldn't you be?

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