Where ad agencies tend to spend too much time promoting themselves is to their clients in an effort to keep their accounts. Many ad agencies continue to provide traditional solutions to non-traditional problems and then spend significant time and resources trying to "sell" clients on these ideas. However, in today's results-driven environment, this self-serving approach cannot work for long since clients have ready access to alternative approaches, such as sampling and event marketing, that may be more appropriate in a particular situation.
Sims complains that advertising is mentioned only peripherally in MBA programs. This is because advertising is a relatively small area of concern for most client-side executives. Agencies need to understand this and approach clients with a broader perspective and an understanding of their clients' "total business" as it relates to promotion, manufacturing, sales, finance and other areas.
It is unfortunate that many ad agencies continue to recruit straight out of the journalism schools Sims mentions in his essay. Agencies should look more frequently to MBAs as prospective account management talent. Communications or journalism graduates who move on to acquire MBAs would be stronger, more effective account executives since they would share the broad-based B-school orientation of the client-side managers they serve.
Furthermore, account execs with MBAs would better understand clients' overall business needs and provide more strategic solutions of true value to their clients.
In your Sept. 12 Last Minute News section you reported that Wired is discussing a joint venture with [Rupert] Murdoch, and in your Sept. 26 issue, writer Julia Miller labeled HotWired a "scaled-down version of the print magazine." Wrong.
Wired has been approached by numerous overseas publishers to discuss foreign editions. Claiming that we "may interface on Aussie mag" with Murdoch, without contacting us for confirmation, is kind of sloppy, no?
HotWired, to be launched later this month, has Wired magazine's integrity, professional excellence and point of view. Beyond that, it is completely new thinking for a new medium, the Internet, created by an entirely new design and editorial staff. The whole point of HotWired is to move beyond the "scaled-down version of the print magazine" that is the norm in electronic publishing.
As a member of a firm that specializes in the administration of chance promotion programs, and which handled the Discovery Channel's "You View It, You Do It" sweepstakes, I take exception to Charles Roda's comments (Forum, AA, Aug. 19). His references to Discovery's sweepstakes promotion were replete with faulty information.
The author classifies this sweepstakes "anti-consumer" because there was no alternate means of entry provided and it was too difficult to enter because it required television viewing "11 days over five weeks" and a touch-tone phone. An alternate means of entry (typically in the form of a mail-in) was not required for this sweepstakes as an 800-number is a free method of entry with all costs paid for by the sponsor. The interactive technology used in this promotion was set up to handle both touch-tone and rotary callers. Viewers could call at any time during any one of 8 programs; the amount of time it took to enter was virtually seconds, not the onerous period Mr. Rhoda alleges.
As to whether there is consideration in requiring consumers to view a television program or listen to the radio, the Supreme Court answered that question in the negative in 1954. The questions asked of callers concerned frequency of viewing the network and usage of Snapple; callers could choose not to answer by simply hanging up without affecting their entry.
Mr. Roda claims the Discovery Channel and others are using sweepstakes to develop and sell customer databases rather than "reward regular customers." The primary purpose of the Discovery Channel sweepstakes is in fact to reward regular customers and create added value for sponsors. A recent poll of entrants found the majority to be "medium" to "heavy" Discovery Channel users.
With regard to Mr. Roda's belief about Federal Trade Commission requirements concerning game of chance promotions, the FTC has only one rule covering disclosures, but it applies only to games (not sweepstakes) offered by supermarkets and gasoline retailers. Otherwise, advertising of sweepstakes and games is subject only to FTC's general strictures against deceptive and misleading advertising. Nor does the FTC have any jurisdiction in enforcing federal and state lottery laws that require the omission of "consideration" for a chance promotion.
Fraudulent activities can be found in every industry and the sweepstakes and games industry is no exception. However, sponsors like the Discovery Channel and companies like mine work very hard to create fun and exciting programs that conform to the highest of regulatory standards.
Debra L. Schoene
FAC Services Group
In response to the article "Home front" (AA, Sept. 19), I feel extremely offended at the comment by Susan Gillette, who says "stopping out" women are "made up of the brightest and the best with the most money."
A woman in the advertising field should know better. Who gives her the right to say that women going to work and raising a family are not part of the brightest and best?
I work full time and have a child, and I am juggling them both. My job fulfills a sense I cannot achieve otherwise-I am a designer. My son fills another very special part of my life that cannot be obtained in any other way. His day care gives him something I cannot, the companionship of other children his age. As a result, he is a very social and well-adjusted child.
I am very bright, innovative and I feel part of the "best" of working women in this country. I work because I want to, not because I have to.
Lori G. Alten
Atlantic City, N.J.