I couldn't help but smile when I read Rance Crain's "Hallmark gives Burnett students same chore: Create brand insistence" (Viewpoint, AA June 1). Mr. Crain spends the majority of the column featuring "a small college in Florida" trying to win the American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition "an unprecedented three times in a row and four times overall."
Unfortunately for the University of West Florida, Florida State University came to play this year and regained the 4th District title and chance to compete at nationals this June 18 in Minneapolis.
All competition aside, I truly respect Tom Groth (UWF ad professor) and the standard of excellence he has set not only at the University of West Florida but throughout the 4th District as well . . .
I applaud AAF and the corporations that sponsor these competitions each year for giving students one of the most valuable hands-on experiences they'll have before entering the challenging world of advertising. It has definitely been the capstone project of my college career.
Florida State University
Only one disagreement with Rance Crain's column "Nobody loves you? Try advertising" (Viewpoint, AA, May 11): "Agencies do nothing to differentiate themselves from each other and from other competitors . . ."
Forgetting agency awards? And the dollars invested in getting them? Agencies can prove they're funnier, more creative, more original . . . even more outrageous than competitors. And those awards can bring in new business.
A long-ago survey showed that an award-winning agency and client remained partners for approximately two years after the awards dinner. Then the client was on the search for a new agency that could sell its product as well as the old agency sold itself.
Andrew J. Byrne
Regarding Rance Crain's May 11 column, it's hard to understand why today's agencies let outsiders erode their influence with clients, but it's not difficult to understand why it continues.
Agencies once provided in-house market research, media buying and other services in addition to creative. Today, with many of these services provided by independent sources, it's mandatory they learn to intelligently utilize them.
All too often an agency will reject the idea that the right kind of professional testing of TV commercials can enhance the finished creative product. Until agencies learn to better utilize such marketing research and other consulting services, they are doomed to further loss of client faith.
Reginald B. Collier
I found Rance Crain's column ("Nobody loves you? Try advertising?" AA, May 11) right on the money. His comments on the lack of advertising for themselves by agencies were particularly interesting to me because my father, "Obie" Winters, built his agency and career in the 1930s on a series of in-house ads he wrote for Erwin, Wasey. The ads appeared in Fortune on a regular basis and several led directly to new business gains.
I enclose one such example (above) -- a famous ad he did for Beer that led to Erwin, Wasey winning the Reingold Beer account.
O. Burtch Drake
President-CEO, American Association of Advertising Agencies
Spina bifida facts
Rance Crain's column is always a must-read. However, I must take issue with one point in "There's never enough time for Tony Wainwright's next project" (Viewpoint, AA, April 27).
One does not die from spina bifida or "open spine." I know; I was born 50 years ago with spina bifida. One might die from the many complications of spina bifida, but one doesn't die from it.
Terrence L. Hanna
North Salt Lake, Utah
In "Acquisitions propel research returns" (May 25, P. S-5), Market Facts, not BAIGlobal, acquired Strategy Research Corp. and Tandem Research Associates in 1998. Market Facts had previously bought BAIGlobal.