Your article "Trading links: Barter makes a mark on Web" (AA, March 24) is an unfortunate example of how media professionals, by and large, completely miss the point when it comes to the value of barter. As a past contributor to Ad Age articles on the subject of bartered media, I remain frustrated by a nearly total lack of respect for and understanding of the use of barter transactions as solid business tools.
Rather than debate the merits of barter, however, I simply wonder why there is a flap over whether Internet ad spending reports include barter revenue.
Why shouldn't they? Every bartered radio schedule I've placed has shown value in the Hungerford report. Every bartered TV schedule I've placed has shown value in the BAR report. Bartered Internet ads should show value in the Jupiter Communications report as well.
Barter has real value. If barter earned through a trade of unsold inventory results in the offset of a cash expense, or allows for the purchase of additional product or service, shouldn't that revenue be valued and reported? Of course it should.
Your article describes barter as a "touchy subject" among Internet publishers. I find Turner Interactive's Richy Glassberg's description of barter as a "killer of the business model" to be somewhat ironic given that Turner has a division of the company devoted to bartering cable inventory.
Cash, while being the dominant and most attractive form of currency, is only one of a number of "real money" sources. Until such time as the Net is sold out, those who use barter as a beneficial business tool, such as Netscape, will likely keep the competitive edge they now enjoy.
Internet publishers, it seems to me, should spend more time educating the advertising community about the value of their medium instead of worrying about the reported value of barter.
Scott J. Thomas
VP, Barter Corp.
Not Campbell's first try
Please let me set the record straight on one aspect of your story on Campbell's introduction of a retail line of frozen soups ("Campbell Soup tests new niche in freezer," AA, Feb. 3).
You say that, although the company has long sold frozen soups throughout its foodservice division, this is the first time "Campbell has marketed them to consumers." Not so.
In 1954 Campbell launched four retail frozen soups under the Campbell label, which it supported with an exceptionally strong advertising drive as measured by frozen-food promotions at that time. The soups gained quick placement in display cases and high marks for quality and taste. However the cans, with their contents frozen solid and requiring overnight defrosting, were rejected as inconvenient by many consumers and the line was withdrawn.
Campbell gave it another try in the mid-'60s, but packaging-this time in plastic tubs-again proved a stumbling block and this line, too, was discontinued. Besides, by then hot-pack counterparts had been developed for the best-selling frozen items.
Food industry consultant
Ads we can do without
I have found an entry for the "ads we can do without" contest that just may retire the trophy.
Most such ads make the list because they crudely appeal to our prurient interests, but at least we can understand what the creatives were thinking. This ad from Elle magazine, however, is unique.
At first, it is almost impossible to discover this is an ad for Candie's shoes ("Candie's tries to fit in '90s," AA, Feb. 17). Next, one wonders what possible connection there is between shoes and privy functions. Finally, why did the creatives and the client think the ad would be appealing?
Maybe they believe we harbor secret, barely restrained interests in things scatalogical that, once scratched, will create a maddening itch to buy. But what they in fact have done is create a disgusting, vulgar ad that has established a new, perhaps unsurpassable, nadir for taste in advertising.
In "Struggling Acer exits branding" (April 7, P. 19), U.S. unit sales for Acer America Corp. rose 9.5% in second quarter 1996.
In Brady's Bunch (April 7, P. 29), the photo identified as Philip Reynolds of the National Geographic Society is actually John Patten, Southeast manager at the society.