DAVE THOMAS REVIEWS BOB; AMR IS IN FORT WORTH; PPV LACKS MARKETING; FEEL FREE TO CRITICIZE; COVERAGE HITS THE TARGET; AD SUPER BOWL? GOOD IDEA; WASTED ADVERTISING; UTILITY AND 500 CHANNELS; NEON AD DIDN'T GLOW

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Dave Thomas reviews Bob

Bob Garfield, I read with great interest your review of Wendy's Olympic ads (AA, Feb. 7). I enjoy hearing what you have to say about the advertising industry, and this column was no exception.

One thing I've learned from past experience is that when you write a column, a lot of people read it and talk about it. And people are certainly talking about our Olympic ads!

The campaign continues to be successful and is driving the company to record sales and profits. As long as the results are so positive, we'll continue the campaign. Believe me, when they no longer work, I'm history. (I'm not giving up my day job!)

It's OK with me if you don't like our Olympic spots. I respect your opinion as an advertising writer and critic, and I'm just pleased that you thought enough of them to include them in your column. Who knows? You might like the next series.

R. David Thomas

Senior chairman and founder

Wendy's International

Dublin, Ohio

AMR is in Fort Worth

The purpose of this letter is to note an inaccuracy in your Advertising Fact Book (AA, Jan. 3), in the listing of 100 leading advertisers. You list the headquarters of AMR Corp. as Dallas. American Airlines and [parent] AMR Corp. are located in a far eastern portion of Fort Worth immediately south of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

I recognize that this may not seem of major significance, but Fort Worth is proud of its association with American Airlines and AMR Corp., and certainly believes their correct location should be included in such listings.

Douglas Harman

President-ceo, Fort Worth,

Texas, Convention &

Visitors Bureau

PPV lacks marketing

Pay-per-view is a classic example of a good product dying for lack of intelligent marketing. In large urban areas the benefits of ppv are obvious-easy access to "A" titles, competitive prices and the ability to tape the movies for subsequent home viewing.

Despite these benefits, try and find out what's playing, for example, on Time Warner Cable in Manhattan! The tiny, poorly produced and cheap-looking bill stuffer that comes with each month's bill looks like the kind of solicitations you get with your Visa bill, not the slick, high-profile advertising we're used to for theatrical events.

Movie companies spend millions of dollars in newspaper ads, yet try to find a ppv listing in The New York Times. The studios, in concert with the cable companies, have been singularly unsuccessful in getting ppv listings on the daily TV grid. And rather than take out advertising space devoted, let's say, to a weekly listing of ppv movies, the studios and cable companies are trying to solve the problem with yet another technology, movies-on-demand.

Movies are marketing-driven, and there's no ppv marketing going on. Does anyone wonder why the system is failing?

Arnold M. Huberman

Arnold Huberman Associates

New York

(Sent via Prodigy)

Feel free to criticize

Rance Crain, in your Feb. 7 column regarding Nike you mentioned it was Politically Incorrect to criticize anything coming out of Wieden & Kennedy. Have you forgotten so soon the awful campaign they did for the Subaru Impreza? It was not only politically correct to criticize it but it was just plain correct that they lost the account because of it.

You also stated that it was Politically Incorrect to criticize anything coming out of the entire state of Oregon. Not everyone here is very proud of being represented by Ms. Harding. Please feel free to be comfortable criticizing her all you want. And Nike also. You failed to mention their bonehead tournament for the top high school basketball players around the country that could possible ruin the amateur status of these young athletes.

But don't be so narrow minded with the kind of blatantly biased statements you made in your column. Or is it Politically Incorrect for us to criticize anything written in Crain's newspaper by anyone named Crain?

Kurt Klein

Portland, Ore.

Coverage hits the target

As a well-known telecommunications industry analyst and market researcher, I feel qualified and compelled to compliment you in two areas.

One is your outstanding and ongoing coverage of regional and long-distance telephone company marketing and advertising issues. Traditionally quiet and conservative telephone companies are entering a new era and need help from advertising agencies and marketing professionals in re-inventing their strategies in a rapidly changing market filled with new challenges and fierce competition.

I frequently advise phone companies on the very advertising, PR and marketing issues you write about, and your coverage is right on target and is there every step of the way.

The other area is your Interactive section. This is an area of growing interest, yet it is disappointing that there is not much coverage in the media. Your excellent coverage serves your readership well.

In my position, I am regularly interviewed by the media regarding issues in the telecommunications industry, and I regularly read dozens of newspapers, magazines and trade journals to keep up. I can safely say your coverage is among the best I've seen!

I am including Advertising Age on my required reading list. Thanks, from a new reader.

Jeffrey Kagan

President, Tele Choice Consulting

Atlanta

Ad Super Bowl? Good idea

Regarding your editorial "A new Super Bowl game plan" (AA, Feb. 7), how about taking this idea seriously and really developing a means to show only the top spots? The Super Bowl is a perfect medium to give the ad industry some great PR as well as much deserved recognition for the top people in the industry.

Here's the basic idea: Create a contest (a small-scale Andy Awards, if you will) to decide which spots are truly worthy of this type of exposure. Corporations will compete to get their ads shown, thus guaranteeing quality ads. Obviously, any advertiser willing to advertise during the Super Bowl is not worrying about costs exclusively. They want exposure.

It can be played as a game within the game, similar to Anheuser-Busch's Bud Bowl. This will help assure that viewers will be watching.

The Super Bowl has become known as the time to catch revolutionary commercials. A committee of industry leaders will be selected as judges. Together they will form a new tradition, "The Super Bowl of Advertisers." It will drum up a tremendous amount of support and increase competition in the industry.

Let's bring the much deserved recognition to our art form!

Lee Nesser

Promotions manager

Marek & Associates

New York

Wasted advertising

I laughed when I read that Prodigy expects new subscribers due to America Online's over-population problem (AA, Feb. 7). I called AOL and Prodigy and asked them to send me online info. Within days I had America Online's software and instructions and could boot-up. Weeks later .*.*. nothing from Prodigy. So I called again and weeks later, still no information or software.

Why would Prodigy waste millions of dollars on "live" TV ads when they can't slap a stamp on an info kit and mail it to a potential customer?

Jasun Martz

Los Angeles

Utility and 500 channels

Betsy Frank says in her "Opinion" article that ".*.*. people sit down and watch TV to see programs that entertain or inform them, not to balance their checkbooks or order a pizza" (AA, Feb. 14).

While that may be true, the segment of the population from Baby Boomers on down has become enculturated to use the video screen/computer terminal as a utility, a tool. .*.*. These people will be quite comfortable ordering dinner and getting a bank reconciliation over one of their 500 channels as soon as possible.

While we can still expect a large portion of those 500 channels to be consumed by people searching for something on the entertainment-information spectrum, a not inconsiderable amount of bandwidth will be taken up by transaction-based services, and in the process generate lots of "screen time" that will be available for advertising.

Paul Lemberg

Director of marketing

Meta/4 Digital Design

West Norwalk, Conn.

Neon ad didn't glow

Regarding your interview with Chrysler President Robert Lutz (AA, Feb. 7), his response to your question about advertising explains the incompetence of the advertising for Neon. The product is shown for four seconds with a front view, and you were correct in an earlier observation; it does look like a Pacer.

But not really, because the Pacer was almost full size and the position of the Neon in its ad makes it appear to be a toy car.

Perhaps Mr. Lutz should watch the Ford Mustang commercial to see how excitement can be developed.

Jerry L. Luquire

Brentwood Publishers Group

Columbus, Ga.

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