I presume you must have some figures to support your contention. If the campaign has, in fact, generated greater usage of the service's two-day priority mail product, look for a drop-off when users discover the comparison with FedEx and UPS is apples to oranges. While the small print on the TV spot undoubtedly fulfills legal requirements, the impression left by the commercial is that the post office's two-day product is essentially the same as that offered by the competition for a much lower price. As any user will attest, the old adage "you get what you pay for" is at work here.
While UPS and FedEx guarantee delivery in two days and can tell you where your package is from the moment it leaves the sender until it arrives, the Postal Service can do neither. Its "promise" is simply an average of delivery times for all two-day priority mail. Your important letter could take twice as long or more, and often does. No guarantee and no way to find out where in the vast post office labyrinth your letter might be if it doesn't show up on time.
While the USPS campaign may not be the only current comparative advertising campaign to use fine print to substantially alter the promise made in an ad or TV commercial, to my knowledge it's the first to get the editorial endorsement of the industry's leading trade paper while doing it. Highly successful? I call it a blatant misrepresentation. Could that be what riled the Postal Service's Board of Governors and led to Mr. Smith's ouster?
Group H Radio
Cos Cobb, Conn.
Rance Crain's column on the colorful Walter Weir (AA, Nov. 11) whose love of good advertising was legendary, brought back first memories of my introduction to advertising
In the late '50s, when I was newly married, Walter was the creative director at Donohue & Coe, my father-in-law's advertising agency. Arthur B. Churchill and his brother Edward had a hot little shop going with clients like MGM, Carolina Rice and Dr. Scholl's Foot Pads and Walter was a frequent guest in their house and much loved. What I remember more than anything from those dayswere many dinner conversations about advertising, about clients who were like family-a true study in client and product loyalty.
Arthur and Edward Churchill died many years ago, but Walter always kept in touch with Ruth Churchill, Arthur's wife, who turned 100 last summer. When I began to do public relations for advertising agencies some 12 years ago at Grey, Walter sent a message wishing me well and telling me to "hang on for the ride." It's nice to see him remembered so fondly.
Mary C. Churchill
M. Churchill Communications
Regarding Rance Crain's Nov. 18 column: In the long term, tradeoffs like the one he proposes against the right of free speech for the liquor industry are far more dangerous than anything Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam or the Marlboro Man will ever have to say.
Given the choice, I would rather leave today's young people in a country with liquor ads on TV and limited government than with a constitution poked full of holes by well-meaning politicians, bureaucrats-or even trade associations, for that matter.
Public relations director
Wisconsin Fuel & Light Co.
Your report in the Ad Age on-line edition [that CyberCash is offering what it calls the Internet's first-ever scratch and win promotion] is incorrect. This is not the first scratch and win on the Internet.
Y&R New Technologies created a scratch and win contest for 7UP.com in the summer of '96. This promotion was tied into their "Upgrade your summer fun sweepstakes." In this on-line contest we gave away Sony Boomboxes, Sunglasses, Bar B-Q's etc. via a simulated scratch card.
Y&R New Technologies