BRIGHT SIDE OF HEALTHCARE; LIBERATING PARIS; NEW FEATURE RINGS BELL; STILL WAITING FOR CUBA

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While it is gratifying to see an article on the front page of Advertising Age about an industry that is generally ignored by your publication, it is disquieting to see the article on the U.S. pharmaceutical industry so lacking in completeness and so focused on the nega-tive side.

Why has so little been written about the potential for opportunity that underlies the substantial change being experienced by an industry that is essentially centered on providing a better quality of health and fullness of life?

Why are the statistics on the dramatic reduction in ad spending in medical journals not accompanied by numbers that reflect the shift in advertising to non-journal media and the direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and the conditions they are designed to treat? This information is readily available and presents a more complete picture about what is happening in pharmaceutical and healthcare-related advertising.

Also, advertising agencies that have responded to this new paradigm by preparing and presenting themselves to be more than journal advertising creators and managers will be prepared to fend off the gloom and doom that is apparent in your approach to this market analysis.

"Slashed" sales forces, redirected marketing efforts and shifts to non-traditional media-accompanied by downsizing of internal corporate marketing staffs-rather than presenting insurmountable negative circumstances to healthcare agencies, offer them unparalleled opportunity for involvement, achievement and growth.

At the end of the day, there are still customers with needs. It will be the industry's job to identify the customers, to determine their needs and to develop new products (or to better position existing ones) to satisfy those needs. And the role of promotion will continue to be the communication of the right message to the right audience in the most appropriate manner. Promotion will continue to provide the message delivery needed to assure and to improve return-on-investment. It just won't be as easy as it has been in the past.

And those agencies that are fully prepared to participate in this process-and are empowered by their clients to do so-will thrive.

Robert A. Girondi

Senior VP-marketing

communications, Healthcare

Communications Inc.

Princeton, N.J.

Thanks to James Brady for his informative and moving column, "Paris ... 50 years after" (AA, Aug. 22).

This was especially meaningful to me, as I participated in the invasion, landing on Omaha Beach with the 29th Division. I later joined the 28th Division, which fought through France with the 3rd Army until we were given the honor of parading through Paris, the only outfit to do so. It was quite thrilling for a 20-year-old to pass the reviewing stand on the Champs Elysee and be saluted by Generals Charles DeGaulle, LeClerc, Omar Bradley and George Patton, and to be cheered by many thousands of ecstatic and often tearful Parisians.

This uplifting, highly emotional experience was matched only by my recent trip to France to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day with beautiful ceremonies at Omaha and Utah beaches, and the U.S. cemetery.

Gordon Hearne

Intervisual Communications

Santa Monica, Calif.

Our compliments to you on initiating your new monthly feature about "year-old agencies that appear to be on the road to fame through their fresh creative work." Bravo!

Our congratulations to Butler, Shine & Stern, both for your cover story (AA, June 20) and for their impressive achievements. It is very inspiring to hear about other companies built on the same system as we are and to have them receive such recognition.

A year ago, actually May '93 (important for our Taurus horoscope), in our little (but noisy) country of Israel, we began a new business very similar to theirs. We called ourselves "the Concept House-a workshop for advertising campaigns-Leny Ehrman & Gadi Inbar." We both left top positions and respectable agencies after years of hard, rewarding work. We established a new format for advertising solutions. We recommend all kinds of professional services needed for specific projects. Our clients are not obliged to long term relations.

As we feel that Butler, Shine & Stern are kindred spirits, we would be very interested in being in contact as "pen pals" to exchange ideas, experiences and initiatives.

We are looking forward to future editions of Advertising Age and, needless to say, the upcoming articles in this series.

Leny Ehrman

Gadi Inbar

The Concept House

Tel Aviv, Israel

Regarding your front page article "U.S. marketers wait for opening in Cuba" (AA, Aug. 29):

About three or four years ago, when I was an editor with the Puerto Plata News (Dominican Republic), I covered a ceremony marking the opening there of a new rental office and car-prep facility by one of the major car rental companies. The company's VP for Latin America and Caribbean operations was the most senior official present.

By coincidence, Cuba was once again the subject of many wishful-thinking rumors of imminent collapse. In the course of an interview I learned that this official personally owned the master franchise for Cuba for his brand. He, too, said he was ready to open for business there as fast as a plane could fly in some autos.

When I commented that the Cuban master franchise must be worth a fortune, he told me that only a few weeks before he had turned down a firm offer to pay ten times what he had paid for it "back when no one thought it would ever be worth anything again."

I fell right into the trap when I asked what that meant. He said he'd paid a dollar more than 20 years ago. I'll bet he could get at least one hundred times that for it now.

Joe Harkins

VP-marketing

Inter-American Media Corp.

New York

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