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I enjoyed "The Year In Review(s): Is it a record pace?" (AA, June 2). It was very insightful and informative.

O. Burtch Drake [president-CEO, American Association of Advertising Agencies] is on the money when he observes that "the advertising agency business is a `relationship business."

And I agree with Keith Reinhard [chairman-CEO, DDB Needham Worldwide] that agencies allow "a vacuum to exist" between them and their clients.

My belief is the vacuum, and the resultant weakening in relationships, is due to the ascendancy of account planning at the expense of account management as the guardians of the brand. In other words, the relationship person, the one who embodies the agency's service, is no longer seen as adding value to the client's brand.

Ergo the vacuum.

To strengthen its relationship with the client, an agency might consider shifting more brand stewardship duties from planning to account management. There's nothing like building a strong relationship based on an equity-building partnership between "the relationship person" and the client.

Avi Dan

Senior VP-business development

Ryan Drossman & Partners

New York

FTC and power of ads

Your magazine has reported extensively on the "Old Joe" saga ("FTC's Camel case hinges on ads' power over kids," AA, June 2).

The eventual outcome will be important to advertising in virtually every media. It may seem the issue involves a cartoon character and its effect on the behavior of children. To get a clear focus, however, we must step back for a broader view.

The issue actually is, does advertising work? More accurately, can anyone prove that it does?

The government will try to provide that proof. If it is successful, it will be bad news for Old Joe but good news for advertising.

On the other hand, the folks in Old Joe's corner are going to try to show that the advertising they did had no effect on the people (children) who viewed it. Their success would mean advertising takes a big hit.

There are so many variable factors in the marketplace that, even though all of us in advertising know without a doubt that advertising works, we couldn't prove it.

Even when results and measurements suggest an ad is or is not working, we look to see if other factors are involved: a colder than expected winter, a competitor's advertising, world news, an earthquake and so on.

Would the statistics on children and smoking have been any different if Old Joe never was used? Obviously, there is no way to know and certainly no way to prove it.

So, while the Federal Trade Commission's case narrowly focuses on Joe Camel and kids, I have a different perspective. It is that the government of the most powerful country on earth feels that advertising is such a powerful influence on the lives of its citizens that ads for regulated products need to be closely controlled. And not just broadcast advertising as in the '60s, but all advertising.

We've come a long way, baby.

Gregg A. Emmer

VP-marketing, Kaeser & Blair

Batavia, Ohio

Not our estimate

In the article "GM taps Harris to help lure women" (AA, Feb 17), Advertising Age cites J.D. Power & Associates as projecting the women's share of the new automotive category buying to be "60% of all vehicle sales by 2000."

The number is not one any of our research or forecasting directors can recall saying or could justify.

We do not project gender share of market but currently estimate the female share of principal drivers for personal-use vehicles registered between May 1995 and April 1996 to be 47.2% for cars, 26.3% for light trucks and 38.6% of the combined light vehicle market, according to our 1997 Media Reports.

There is one subsegment where females are currently 63% of principal drivers, the entry sporty [subsegment], and three others where they are over 50%: entry compact, premium compact and lower midsize.

We think the 60% figure above for all vehicles (or for just cars) would be extreme for the year 2000 and impossible to justify.

The number in question has apparently been widely circulated and is causing much confusion.

Thomas E. Healey

Partner/Director, media &

advertising services

J.D. Power & Associates

Agoura Hills, Calif.

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