THE RIGHT TO SAY NO;DESTROYING A BRAND;TOO MANY QUICK TRACKS

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In Rance Crain's column, "Ad rights extend to all-even O.J." (AA, Feb. 19), O.J. cassette producer Tony Hoffman, upset that more television stations and cable systems won't accept 1-800-OJ-TELLS advertising, argues that stations should accept the advertising and let the American people decide whether or not to buy it because "that's what the American free enterprise system is all about." What economics courses did Mr. Hoffman take?

The American free enterprise system makes it possible for anyone to enter any legal business they choose, including television management. If, in his/her capacity, a station manager chooses not to accept an advertiser, that station manager is "free" to make that decision. Get it, Mr. Hoffman? It's the station manager's choice, not O.J's right.

Let's hope that this showing of sensibility by media managers across the country, without government intervention, serves as a deterrent to other "O.J. wannabes" who presume that, because they have some horse manure to peddle, the American public can't wait to buy it.

Scott J. Thomas

VP of media, ADEX

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Could a television commercial lead to the eventual demise of a world-recognized brand? Advertising can be used to both create the equity that we so desire in our brands as well as destroy our brand's reserve in as quickly as 30 seconds.

Burger King's media blitz offered the limited-time 99 cents Whopper promotion. WOW....99 cents! That's definitely some deal. This low-price strategy will probably increase the sale of Whoppers and complimentary food items...This will definitely please the franchise owners who are counting receipts at the end of each day. But what about consumers?

What happens next week when the promotion is over and consumers are surprised to find that their beloved sandwich now costs $2 more!? The "value meal" does not seem like such a value any more...Consumers perceive that they are being ripped off because their brand network-the accumulated brand messages stored in consumers' memory over time-tells them what to expect to pay for the sandwich.

Why do so many marketers sacrifice brand equity to see a short-term increase in sales? Can we not feel good about our jobs if we don't see an immediate effect? And why must we treat all consumers as if they are alike? A more targeted media approach would yield the same short-term results without negatively impacting BK's loyal consumer base.

It is easy to forget that the brands we market are not ours to own; they exist in the heads of our customers. Brand and marketing strategies must focus on nurturing relationships with loyal customers and consider all message delivery systems rather than assuming that mass is always the way to go. We need to be strategists first, communicators second.

David Shell

Targetbase Marketing

Dallas

An article in your Jan. 1 issue ("Agency vets plan to track attitudes about fast-food") discussed a program called Quick Track being introduced by a company called Quick Track. It stated that Quick Track is "the first national database gauging consumer fast-food attitudes." This statement is not true; Sandelman & Associates has been conducting a syndicated consumer research program covering the fast-food category in the U.S. since 1988. In fact, the name of our study is Quick-Track, which has been registered as a federal trademark.

I was somewhat surprised that this article provided the incorrect information about the new program being the first such study of its type because Advertising Age ran an article about one of the Sandelman & Associates' fast-food surveys in the July 4, 1994, issue.

Our study, which tracks consumer awareness, usage and attitudes, has been conducted in more than 80 markets across the U.S. as well as a nationally representative study that is conducted each quarter. In 1995, we conducted close to 100,000 telephone interviews with fast-food users. Our study is well known and respected in the restaurant industry and has been featured and quoted in many publications.

Robert L. Sandelman

President, Sandelman & Associates

Brea, Calif.

Editor's note: An executive of the new company said the study's name has been changed to The Restaurant Chain Monitor.

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