I cannot help but take exception to all the yelling about Joe Camel ads and the targeting to kids. In David Milenthal's letter (AA, March 24), he speaks of targeting a more mature audience: "Clearly Joe Camel has been criticized time and time again as the most blatant offender of advertising that appeals to children" . . .
The manufacturers of Camels do want to sell Camel cigarettes. Does anybody think the [Marlboro] cowboy is only intended to appeal to adults? And if anybody thinks that [Joe Camel] is intended to be only for kids because adults go for more "mature" advertising, what is the level of mentality the "Nacho Man" or the new "Advertisements by Dick" for Miller Lite beer appeal to? . . .
Maybe Joe Camel is too sophisticated for the average complainer to understand.
Robert M. McMath
Director, The New Products Showcase & Learning Center
Abusing the Top 40
When is it going to stop? Enough already!
As a consumer, and one schooled in marketing and advertising, I cannot for the life of me understand the reasoning behind the abuse and overuse of Top 40 songs, prostituted to sell brand products!
The idea was cute the first go 'round. The recent onslaught of campaign after campaign after campaign using the same strategy-now worn out and totally devoid of any novelty-is more than a comedy of errors, it is a tragedy!
If advertising agencies think they're appealing to baby boomers such as myself, they are sorely mistaken! I'll boycott every single one of these advertiser's products and vocalize to anyone who will listen why they, too, should do likewise.
Campaigns like these are not at all creative. They point to lazy thinking and unimaginative advertising. Frankly, if I were the president of the firms currently using this sort of vehicle, I'd fire both the brand manager and the advertising agency for their sloppy, uncreative efforts.
Bruce W. Bjorkman
Praise for `dubious' ads
"Ads we can do without" was and is a [feature] I can do without. Not because of the ads. It's the commentary and the placement. . . . Last week's [AA, April 14] effort was a prime example. Who is Herbert Owens, and why does he have his boxers in a bunch about a Candie's shoe ad depicting a model in the midst of her "privy functions"? . . .
Another fundamental problem is that [because] "Ads we can do without" resides on the same page where Ad Age editors espouse their opinions, this leaves the impression that the views of kooks . . . carry legitimate weight.
For my money, "Ads we can do without" is one of the few places I can count on in Ad Age to see interesting work. Some of it is tasteless, cruel, stupid and demeaning. I'll allow that much of it is probably ineffective.
But at least these ads almost always evoke emotion: anger, laughter, curiosity and sometimes jealousy. . . . I'll take them any day over many of the sanitized, over retouched, client-slimed ads featured [elsewhere in Ad Age].
Ad Age does need a showcase for dubious ads, but it also needs to show work outside the mainstream. And, yes, it should be open to criticism by anyone who has the credentials. But stop giving space to Bob Garfield wannabes who probably have a political or moral axe to grind.
Candies ad offensive
From my perspective, the Candie's ad (AA, April 14) rates as "the ad we can most do without." No matter how you look at it, I find it more offensive than artistic. Surely Candie's creatives could do better than this to advertise a great product.
Peggy S. Campbell
Craft beers and the Web
In the article "In craft beer, it's `style' over brand substance" (AA, March 10) you identify the opportunity and trap lying in wait for these so called "niche marketers." The key question is whether these new craft beers are attracting buyers or simply tryers who are part of an increasing number of consumers looking for anything new.
The brand building issue raised in the article focuses on traditional brand building media. It occurs to me that, if this market is truly viable, the target consumer is ripe for interactive, Web-based marketing. What better way to build a "craft" relationship with people looking for a unique beer experience?
Santa Clara, Calif