LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

On cigarette ads

When I read Rance Crain's May 20 column, my heart was lifted to find someone of consequence in our industry signalling a "heads up" about the cynical deception that has been sold to the advertising community by the folks from North Carolina.

A few moments of this past weekend were spent remembering a former pioneer of this industry who died slowly and painfully of the disease clearly linked to the lifelong addiction to cigarettes-my father, Wesley Aves.

I recently received a mailing from our local American Advertising Federation chapter with sample draft messages, asking me to send letters in support of the tobacco industry to legislators from my district. Enraged that our dues would be used for this purpose, I revised the letters to cast a negative opinion on their misuse of the U.S. Constitution.

The reason Rance Crain's audience of advertising people were cynical and unconcerned might be because only certain people will come into a profession that has tarnished its reputation as we have done with this issue. ... I hope he sticks with his notion that we should separate ourselves from the tobacco industry's dispute.

John Aves

Aves Inc.

Grand Rapids, Mich.

I hate cigarettes but I think it is much too dangerous to play around with First Amendment rights by restricting cigarette advertising. As long as a product is legal to sell, no one has any business placing any restrictions on the advertising of that product.

What we need is more magazines and others that will, like 3M Outdoor Advertising, make the decision that such ads are inappropriate for their audience. I am the editor of Shutterbug, currently the world's third-largest photo magazine, and we do not, and never have, accepted tobacco ads.

Bob Shell

Shutterbug

Titusville, Fla.

More discrimination

Letter writer Lisa Sullivan complained about what she perceived as a paucity of amputees and other handicapped persons in ads.

I'd like to point out a far more blatant form of anti-handicapped discrimination, practiced by advertising people and marketing directors constantly.

I refer to the pervasive discrimination against persons with hearing and speech impediments. The discriminations? The widespread (and thoroughly idiotic) practice of withholding all contact information from ads, except for a voice phone number.

I cannot understand why companies or advertising people ... make it so difficult to get more information. ... Do they simply not give a damn about potential customers who don't have perfect speech, or perfect hearing, or perfect language skills?

By withholding snailmail addresses, e-mail addresses and other means of reaching them, such advertisers turn a 10-second matter of requesting information into an ordeal. A sizable portion of potential buyers of any product has less than perfect speech and hearing, and that portion is growing as America's population ages.

I have asked many large companies why they would insult physically challenged customers by imposing unnecessary burdens on them. .... The most "intelligent" response I've gotten has been, "Gee, we never thought about that." Well, I urge you to think about that!

Name withheld by request

Los Angeles

Big not always efficient

It may be of interest to your readers that the trend to move spot buys to major agencies to use their clout to improve efficiencies may not be completely accurate. The Domino's switch (AA, May 27) is a classic example of the belief that bigger is not only better, but cheaper.

In fact, big agencies often pay premium prices for spot buys. I was surprised to discover that large advertising firms have often paid more for spot television than our very small company in a number of markets where we buy TV.

I won't go into the specific circumstances which lead me to conclude that "big ain't necessarily more efficient," but I will suggest a simple reason for this seeming enigma: Brokers.

We often have to fight for the right to buy locally. I have witnessed documents from a major agency that claims to spot buy from their regional offices that list "Katz" or some other large broker as their salesperson.

Brokers' customers are the TV affiliates, not the agencies' clients. They must earn their keep and do so, perhaps pushing rates up.

Do large agencies have "clout" and "leverage"? Of course they do. The question is "Do they use it?"

I am not against making profits. However, I think it is time someone took a deeper look at whether "big" agency always equates to "low" costs. It just may be that big clout and big leverage are myths.

Walt Frazier

Frazier, Gajewski & Associates

Williamsville, N.Y.

Proper credit

Thank you for honoring our Kafka radio spot for the Guthrie Theater (AA Best, AA, May 27), however, we feel it is important to give recognition to the right people. Andy Lerner of Radio in the Nude did all the casting and production on the Kafka commercial.

("There. Now give the nice policeman the gun, Andy. Whew!")

Mike Lescarbeau

Fallon McElligott

Minneapolis

Correction

The OutFront Marketing supplement (June 10) neglected to list the overall response rate for the OutFront Marketing Research Study. The overall response rate was 12.10%.

TO POST OR E-MAIL LETTERS

Advertising Age welcomes letters to the editor, but we ask that they be held to no more than 250 words in length. The editors reserve the right to edit letters. Address letters to Advertising Age, Viewpoint Editor, 740 Rush St., Chicago 60611. Fax: (312) 649-5331. Letters can also be e-mailed to edit@adage.com.

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