LETTERS TO THE EDITOR;LOT TO LEARN ON WEB; BOFA STILL EXPLORING;MALL MARKETING;SUPERFICIAL SOLUTION;THE OBVIOUS CHOICE;

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Bravo to Jack Supple's interactive opinion column about the Web revolution needing a creative boost (AA, Feb. 26). He reminds us, as marketing and communications professionals, not to get careless in developing content and design for the Internet.

I agree that many sites need help, creative and otherwise. However, an infusion of creativity to "revolutionize" the Web will no more improve the medium than a new coat of paint would have "civilized" the West. Yes, creativity is required; creativity combined with an understanding of the medium's capabilities/limitations, and a focus on relevance and user utility to produce and deliver engaging content that consumers will embrace.

Yes, there are many dead sites out there and creativity is needed. Yes, Mr. Supple is right in exhorting interactive professionals to push the Web to its fullest potential. Let us not forget, however, that this is a new medium and there is a lot to learn as it develops.

In the meantime, as is the nature of a boon, all comers are welcome. Of course, they will not find a ready made business-building paradise, but if they are serious about their commitment and willing to learn, they just might build one.

Michael Murray

Director, interactive marketing

Targetbase Marketing

Dallas

Advertising Age mistakenly reported that Bank of America "is expected to name RPInteractive" to handle our "interactive assignments" (AA, March 11). In three separate conversations with your reporters, in fact, Bank of America has said it wasn't so. In a follow-up (March 25), Advertising Age mistakenly reported that our company "pulled an interactive assignment ....expected to go" to RPInteractive. Not so, we had said to your reporter.

The facts are these: Bank of America is exploring a number of different forms our interactive advertising might take. Ketchum Interactive and RPInteractive are among the agencies being consulted. No decisions have yet been made, but it seems likely that we'll work with multiple agencies on a variety of approaches.

Cathy Graeber

Senior VP, Bank of America

Interactive Banking

San Francisco

I applaud Rance Crain's column "Shopper-tainment solves a craving" (AA, Feb. 12). I'd like to expand his examples of in-store

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`shopper-tainment" to a larger retail venue-shopping malls.

We use "shopper-tainment" in mall promotions to increase client product sales. Mall center courts are the perfect arenas to promote products because people can immediately buy the products in mall stores. As examples:

Thousands of young girls purchased Scholastic's "Babysitter's Club" books for autographing by author Ann Martin on her mall tour.

A costume character Betty Rubble toured malls during her campaign to be added to the Flintstone's vitamin bottle.

MCI promoted its services by offering children in malls free video phone calls to Santa at the North Pole.

Lipton served complimentary tea to tired holiday shoppers in malls at its "Soothing Moments Holiday Oasis."

Mr. Crain will be pleased to learn that shopping malls are using "shopper-tainment" in their center courts to increase product sales.

Nancy R. Walters

President, Very Special Events

San Diego

On several accounts, I find Rance Crain's column (AA, March 11) disturbing. His generalized assessment of a proposed racial problem ("Why don't major advertisers give minority ad agencies a shot at handling their mainstream campaigns?") is as superficial as his happy solution ("technology has leveled the playing field for .*.*. agencies .*.*. Let's see if there's room for black agencies .*.*. too.")

The implication that "white executives" are cooperatively eliminating "black agencies" from large account pitches is as ludicrous as the implication that agencies should be selected to pitch large accounts based on blackness. (Does Mr. Crain really believe that KFC moved its account to its main shop to get it away from African Americans?)

The contention of Mr. Gray of the UNCF that "Black folks have been watching white folks for decades," and therefore "they understand the lifestyles, attitudes, and behaviors of whites better than whites .*.*. themselves" is a ridiculous and racist generality. Who are these omniscient blacks? Are they collecting data? Or is this just a genetic gift, manifested by an obsession for white American demographic trivia?

In practically the same breath, Mr. Crain assesses that:

1. "Consumer products are becoming a series of niche markets."

2. "Black agencies are positioning themselves as agencies with ethnic expertise."

3. "The reality is that too often black agencies have been painted into an ethnic corner."

Why, after reading this entire column, did I feel like I just walked in on the middle of a conversation?

There may be racial problems in advertising (as there are in America). However, treating these ailments with generalities and superficial observations is part of the ignorance that breeds the problem. Volatile issues must be addressed in specific terms, using specific incidences, (i.e., which agency, which account, what circumstances). Ultimately they should be tested and acted on in a court of law.

In the future, please be more specific. And please, make the bad guy the offending agency, not white agencies. The wedge has already been driven too deep.

Sean O'Hara

O'Hara Marketing

HOLIN1@aol.com

Was there any other choice than Martha Stewart Living for Magazine of the Year (AA, March 11)? Over continuous sniping and criticism from "professionals," Martha Stewart consistently delivers to her ever-growing following a publication full of information and ideas unavailable elsewhere. She has brilliantly conceived and executed a product that people want.

As for the comment that "There's no way I can make fun of her anymore .....", why she has been the subject of ridicule has always been a mystery to me. I am happy to see her heading off to the bank with her just rewards.

Victoria Veh

Group marketing manager

Swarovski America Ltd.

Cranston, R.I.

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Correction

An incorrect chart appeared in Automotive News/Advertising Age's joint automotive marketing issue (April 1, Page S-6). The correct chart is as follows:

In this article: