LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Service holds customers

You cannot buy status. Chevrolet's new campaign that spotlights its logo-as reported in your April 1 issue-is not addressing the real problem. Chevy wants to revitalize its logo's status by selling a promise that its products and brand contacts with customers fail to deliver.

An argument could be made that the brand's image is a result of Chevys' dealerships as well as their advertising. Though the advertising might sell the first car, the dealerships' service contacts sell the second. Chevy's declining sales indicates that their problems are more than skin deep.

The problems that lie below the surface focus on the consistency of the message across the brand contacts with customers. Chevy seems to think the minds of their prospects and customers are like blackboards that can just be wiped clean and started anew. Change should be implemented across all of their brand contacts-not just the advertising-or it runs the risk of being lip service.

Giving the image a facelift through advertising will not create a difference in the brand's perception. The real change in perception will come when the ad's promise is translated into action-or service-by dealerships every day all across the fruited plain.

The dialogue of service far outweighs the monologue of advertising; especially if the messages of these brand contacts are inconsistent.

Stephen W. Greer

Graduate student

Integrated Marketing Communications

Northwestern University

Evanston, Ill.

Car theft not funny

I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Garfield's assessment of the Pep Boys ad and others in reaching new lows in class (AA, March 18).

But I think he also missed one other salient issue on the Pep Boys ad: Since when is car theft (or stripping) funny or appropriate in soliciting business? If you've ever been a victim, I assure you it is quite a violation. Maybe he ought to bring that to the front as well.

Tony Radoszewski

tones@infinet.com

The Gulf and Bosnia

I usually enjoy Jim Brady's columns, but I was somewhat saddened and distressed to read "Handling `peacekeeping stress'*" in the Jan. 8 issue (the sole copy in our company finally made its way around to me). I feel it is my duty to set him straight on two points:

1. Gulf War Syndrome is real.....Most likely our own bombs on Iraq's chemical warfare plants unleashed clouds of poisons that rolled over our troops. Imagine the reaction Brady's column would have received from a man in my company who has severe neurological damage as a result of the war, plus a severely deformed child conceived soon after he came back.

2. I believe the vast majority of military personnel are proud to serve in Bosnia. TV and newspaper coverage in the Dallas area reported as much on personnel mobilized from Texas. Half of the personnel in my Naval Reserve unit volunteered for Bosnian duty, their civilian careers and families notwithstanding.

There are always some whiners in every outfit. I suppose some journalists report on it because it is novel or because it sells. But please, Mr. Brady, don't stoop as low in your columns by whining about the whiners.

Tim Riggins

Dallas

Combat ready

I just read James Brady's March 4 column about women being unfit for combat duty. I guess you've lost most of your testosterone by now, James, but I sure haven't, even though I'm a female. I could whip your butt anytime-and I may have to if you keep writing such sexist bullshit.

Deborah Houy

Advertising writer

Boulder, Colo.

Wrong wing

I've had it with Rance Crain. His right-wing columns don't even pretend to address advertising issues. (Feb. 19 was a new low.) Please cancel my subscription.

Sandy Styer

Montclair, N.J.

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 for style and/or clarity. Address letters to Advertising Age, Viewpoint Editor, 740 Rush St., Chicago 60611. Fax: (312) 649-5331. E-mail: edit@adage.com.

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