As for politics creeping into Jim Brady's column, what do you think his column is about? His views on the world! Politics are a force in virtually every industry in this country. His view would certainly seem diminutive if politics were never mentioned.
Please give the readers of Ad Age credit for knowing when they are reading The New York Times and when they are reading this publication. By the way, more politically astute columnists found on editorial pages across the country, while not devoid of their personal politics, seemed to agree with Garfield's review of the content and message of this commercial.
Robert P. O'Keefe
Kansas City, Mo.
I just finished reading your editorial, "Indy at war" (AA, Jan. 15). As an avid racing fan and a marketer, I believe you are absolutely right on target.
The motorsports world, much like the rest of sports, must realize that sponsorship, advertising and promotion is what "fuels" the sport and enhances fan support. One part of the racing fraternity understands and openly supports this methodology: Nascar. That is why the France family and Nascar contingent are the hottest thing in sports today.
This could not come at a worse time for CART and the Indy Cars. Their appeal is too international, whereas the American consumer cannot relate to all of the foreign drivers.
In addition, the Indy drivers do not have the fan support for their sponsors. the drivers and teams do not go to the same levels to support their sponsors and their sport as do the Nascar and NHRA teams.
Carmine C. Catalana IV
President, Cumberland Dairy
Rance Crain's commentary in the Jan. 22 issue ("A royal pain for the King of Beers") was as difficult to swallow as watered-down carbonation in a smoky-brown long-neck.
Mr. Crain blames the "cute little spots featuring frogs, ants and horses" for lagging sales, pinning the hopes of an entire megabrand on a fading medium (television). The article fails to give consideration to significant changes in the beer market, as well as the possibility that other forms of marketing communications might effectively build a brand.
While volume in the overall beer category remained flat last year, sales of what the consumer commonly refers to as "microbeers" increased dramatically. This development sent Budweiser back to the archives, and led both Bud and Miller to purchase significant shares of small, regional microbreweries. Could it be that the rise of microbeers had something to do with Bud's decline?
More troubling, however, is the assertion that TV ads motivate the consumer best. If this is what "corporate chieftains" choose to believe, I submit that they should turn in their washroom keys. .*.*. To waste hundreds of millions of dollars on TV for a brand nearing the end of its life-cycle is not a smart strategy.
To introduce a parity product at the expense of your own market share, such as what Miller seeks to do, is foolhardy. (We can only drink so much beer, after all.) To seek a dialogue and build a relationship with your best customer using relevant and efficient media is, for my (now limited) money, the smartest way to go. Which can only mean one thing: an integrated plan.
Re: Ads we can do without. On your very pages (AA, Jan. 8) is the worst I've seen in a long time. And Bozell did it for (to?) themselves. You have to ask, "What were those people thinking?" Apparently very little.
I think most of us know where this kind of creativity belongs: in the facility where Bozell's spokesman interrupted his activity.
Bravo! to Jim Brady for "Hand-ling peacekeeping stress" (AA, Jan. 8). I have watched with astonishment the many news reports that reflect the amazement and dismay of some military men and women and their families at learning they may be sent somewhere difficult and dangerous to serve.
Brady's is the first comment of its kind I have come across. Like him, I ask, "What is the job, after all?"
I do not impugn the inherent bravery of the military, and I'm confident they will do what is needed. But with every round of "Gosh, is Daddy/Mommy going away to a dangerous place?" we seem to be moving away from the concept of a professional force whose responsibility is, I believe, to be prepared to conduct major military operations in two regions of the world simultaneously.
We may also fault the reporters who never ask, "And what job did you sign up for, soldier?"
May Brady's always lively columns long continue!
Jan A. Wells
Redwood City, Calif.
When I started out in advertising in the late '60s, I was writing shoe copy, and we used descriptive phrases like "available in red, white and blue." White became "off-white" and eventually "bone" was born. Blue became "navy" and red, well, stayed red.
Perusing a Christmas catalog recently I was overwhelmed at the designer colors of the '90s! I counted 125 different shades for clothes that were basically black, gray, white, red, yellow, blue, purple, brown or green.
For example, why buy green when you can buy: hunter, olive, clover, spruce, drab, marine, pine, peat, mineral, moss, fatigue, Aspen, Loden, sage, harbor, fern, kelp, sea, leaf, hazel, celery, mist, laurel, Copen, fir, aqua, Alpine, spearmint or pistachio?
A big salute to those fashion copywriters out there who created such delightful variations!
Libby Smith Bibb
I'd like to correct an error in Bob Garfield's Dec. 11 column on Mercedes-Benz where he refers to "the exclusive side airbag." Not true. My 13-month-old Volvo 850 turbo sports wagon is the first car with side airbags. Last spring the entire Volvo 850 car line got them. Mercedes refers to its exclusive door airbag. Volvo has them in the side of the seat.
Nelson Newsletter Publishing
Corp., Tucson, Ariz.
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