Somewhere in the mix involving O. Burtch Drake, president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Wally O'Brien, president of the National Advertising Review Council and Advertising Age's Rance Crain ("It was a good 4A's meeting -- for trial balloons and intrigue," Viewpoint, AA, April 13), a lot of valuable and necessary information fell through the cracks.
The report that the Advertising Educational Foundation was sitting on a $10 million nest egg while its main mission, the Visiting Professor Program, was costing next to nothing . . . Wrong.
Fact: The Visiting Professor Program -- in which qualified professors are sent to agencies and advertiser and media companies for on-the-job experience -- is only one of AEF's activities.
The leading program is the Ambassador Program, in which advertising and marketing executives visit close to 200 universities each year for one to two days to open a dialogue and answer questions about industry issues and topics such as self-regulation. There is nothing else like it. In fact, the AEF was created by the Four A's and the American Advertising Federation because it could do the educational job better than they could.
There's more still that AEF is doing. Its educational materials collection of videos includes two award-winning films on the creative process and advertising research. They are used with 24 college textbooks, are available to educators on free loan and have been seen by more than 250,000 students and by more than 9 million viewers of educational cable TV.
Last year, we began to expand our audience to include high schools. This year, AEF offers these videos to high school teachers with accompanying classroom materials free.
Fact: AEF's mandate is to raise the perception and awareness of advertising by building a better understanding of its benefits as a social and economic force in our society.
From the beginning, its founders, including Al Seaman and Gene Kummel, decided to collect enough money to pay for AEF's activities using the income from one-time contributions from agencies, advertisers and media companies.
I think it's important that this is known by the advertising community.
Paula A. Alex
Managing Director, Advertising
Clutter already an issue
The editorial "Make clutter an issue again" (Viewpoint, AA, April 6) notes that at least one large advertising agency plans to make non-program clutter part of the negotiations during this year's upfront.
We applaud plans by the advertising community to adopt a practice that has long been standard operating procedure at Media That Works on behalf of our clients.
At MTW, we have been factoring clutter into our proprietary CAT Factors planning model since its introduction in 1992. The "C" in CAT stands for "clutter," the "A" for "attentiveness" and the "T" for "targetability."
Our CAT Factors model weighs all non-programming clutter in a TV show and reflects that in our evaluation of the show's value to our clients: The higher the clutter, the lower the value. We believe it's essential that broadcast and cable networks, and syndicators, be held accountable for their decisions to pare away program time in all dayparts, not just prime time.
The principle governing our media planning is cost/value: Every element of a media plan must pay its own way by contributing value greater than its cost.
Outside sources, including media industry thought leaders, advertisers and research suppliers, repeatedly have noted the rigor and discipline we bring to the process via tools like our CAT Factors model.
There's apparently a perception that clutter, like weather, is something everyone complains about but no one has found a way to address. With regard to TV clutter, something is being done. And we've been doing it for years.
Susan E. Bentzinger
Chief Strategic Officer
Media That Works
* In " `Godzilla' effort looms over '98 movie marketing" (May 4,
P. 12), the photos identified as being from "Small Soldiers" were actually for "Saving Private Ryan." Both films are due this summer from DreamWorks Pictures.
* In "This spec spot's for you, Bud" (May 4, P. 14), the Budweiser commercial titled "My Chair," unlike the others cited in the story, was not created on spec, but in fact was approved and paid for by Anheuser-Busch. Also, the correct spelling of the director's name is Charles Wittenmeier.
* In "F.Y.I." (May 4, P. 66), Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Francisco, has contacted agencies about its unregulated corporate account