EARLY TV ADS DEFAMED; BRAND MARKETING EVALUATED; READER'S FOND FAREWELL; TALK IS SMOKESCREEN

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How sad that in all the world of creative people Ad Age would allow Michael Gebert to defend us against Jack Feuer's assumptions that our standards of creativity will be lowered with the onslaught of "interactivity."

I do applaud Mike's attempt to rally us with the belief that the new longer media forms will re-sult in even more exciting advertising (Forum, AA, July 11). But in his desire to become the self-appointed historian of the TV Creative Age, Mr. Gebert loses all credibility with his astonishing ignorance.

His statement that "Forty years ago TV was a terrible creative medium" insults the inspired commercials I produced for Timex in a campaign that is still ticking. He offends the most recent inductee into the Advertising Hall of Fame, Rosser Reeves, whose concept of the Unique Selling Proposition (although sharply intrusive in the way he executed it) drove manufacturers to discover meaningful product differences at a time when television was discovering itself.

The balderdash that "brand image" could only be achieved in a color spread in Life magazine ignores the fundamental belief that advertising is a business tool that is supposed to "make the cash register ring," not win awards. If television didn't succeed then it wouldn't be around today.

Russ Alben

Russ Alben Creative Services

Los Angeles

When Michael Gebert cited the early days of TV programming to make his case against creativity in TV spots, he certainly chose the wrong example to attack in Milton Berle's "Texaco Star Theater." Because, rather than using "60 grainy black and white seconds," that pioneering show always featured more than five live minutes of what many feel is still the most refreshing brand-identity campaign in TV's history.

At some point in this one-hour live variety show, the curtain opened on a street corner pitchman in derby hat and checked jacket, constantly on the lookout for a cop (not the FCC) to swoop down and break up his pitch. To loud applause of recognition, Sid Stone (for merly a real burlesque show pitchman) would roll up his sleeved to establish his honesty, then launch his comic routine. With everyone's attention this riveted, he'd then extol the viscous virtues of the Texaco Haviland motor oil on his folding table-in the same brassy, burlesque style.

When he made his pitch, viewers didn't leave the room to fill up, or even visit the comfort station. But I'll bet plenty of them visited his sponsor's filling station the next day.

Dave Rapp

New City, N.Y.

I am afraid that your July 18 editorial on the Financial World brand valuation story represents a misapprehension of our article's methodology and purpose.

The FW brand valuation methodology does take into account marketing dollars invested in the brand, in two ways. First, operating cash flow for a brand's marketing costs is one of the factors in all valuations. Second, our multiple for each brand takes into account the effectiveness of the brand's marketing and its leadership in the marketplace (i.e. consumer awareness).

Beyond this, since we value the brands each year, future marketing efforts and dollars are evaluated as the brand value moves from year to year. Our 1995 values will change from 1994 in part due to spending done to market the brand from now until year end.

Perhaps one of the reasons that stewardship of brands has suffered over the last decade is that companies have taken their eye off the ball. Once a brand begins to lose a great deal of money its value does become negative. This is not to say that a brand, IBM for example, cannot be turned around. It is, rather, an indication that it must be turned around to survive.

Douglas A. McIntyre

President-editor in chief

Financial World

New York

I have been an avid reader and booster of Advertising Age through corporate or personal subscription practically since its inception. As a fitting symbol of my retirement from the advertising field, I'm turning in my AA mailing label. I will now devote my remaining years to a personal project and hope that its success will prove that creativity is ageless.

So, thanks to the Crain family and staff for founding and nurturing AA to the top position it has reached today.

Charles P. Englebardt

Boca Raton, Fla.

Editor's note: To Mr. Englebardt, who recently celebrated his 89th birthday, we offer thanks for many years of support and best wishes for success in his personal project.

I was excited when I began reading Wally Snyder's article on the ad industry's call for more diversity (Forum, AA, June 27). I thought some genuine activity was occurring to take the place of the hapless rhetoric which has characterized the industry's response to this issue. I thought perhaps the most segregated white collar profession in America might finally begin changing.

My excitement, however, was quickly replaced by disappointment and irritation. The "movement" cited in the article was yet another industry committee, organizing self-congratulatory speeches to minority college and high school kids about what a wonderful business this is. Worst of all, however, was the article's closing remarks. "The key to changing the face of advertising is to reach students early ..." Oh, please! The key to changing the face of advertising is for agencies to hire minorities.

All of this "movement" to talk to students merely reinforces ad agency propaganda that there aren't any minority professionals already trying to get jobs in advertising. This "movement" becomes an effective smokescreen to avoid dealing with these professionals.

Every year for the past two decades, the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Minority Internship Program has produced significant numbers of qualified candidates for ad agency jobs. The overwhelming majority of these candidates can't find work on Madison Avenue and end up pursuing marketing, management and creative careers in other industries, often as our clients.

The issue is not that complicated. Ad agencies either want to hire minorities or they don't. Watch what we do, not what we say.

Mark S. Robinson

VP-group account director

UniWorld Group

New York

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