Letters, Feb. 23, 1998

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Wrong about Colgate

After misquoting Santayana, Rance Crain made a number of grossly inaccurate remarks about a project I spent a good deal of time on ("Colgate reaches back 44 years for `revolutionary' product's slogan," AA, Feb. 9). I would like to set a few things straight.

Colgate Total is the first toothpaste that actually kills bacteria for 12 hours after you use it. The bacteria-killing ingredient is mixed in with a patented polymer that releases it over time. So, unlike previous products, there is an active process going on in the mouth between brushings. The clinical evidence supports a major reduction of gum disease, as well as reductions in the formation of plaque and tartar. There is no doubt this is breakthrough technology, possibly the biggest advance in toothpaste since fluoride.

As for the advertising slogan, it is not 44 years old. It is seven years old. I wrote the original campaign and the line for Foote, Cone & Belding in 1991. We produced seven commercials that ran in more than 100 countries. When the account was consolidated at Y&R Advertising, the campaign was apparently retained and refilmed for use in the U.S.

The line "The brushing that works between brushings" was never used by Procter & Gamble Co. or anyone else to my knowledge. I naturally resent the implication that it was not original.

And, of course, this line is no empty claim. As I'm sure Mr. Crain knows, all claims for toothpaste fall under Food & Drug Administration regulation and are carefully scrutinized and evaluated in an exhaustive process that requires major clinical studies to verify their truth. The claims for Colgate Total were the result of a lot of hard work by some very fine scientists, over a period of many years.

To recklessly characterize this as a dumb, bogus claim that is being revived insults a lot of people. Mr. Crain also insults our business. We are not a bunch of slogan jockeys who do what we do "through ignorance or stupidity." Some of us do our homework, and try and get things right.

Colgate Total has been a huge success all over the world, and it has not been entirely accidental.

George Miller

Senior VP-creative director

Foote, Cone & Belding

New York

Ads and ROI

I'm pleased you continue to beat the drum on the need to understand how advertising provides return on investment for business. Rance Crain's column ("Ad industry still doesn't know which half of ad budgets wasted," AA, Dec. 15) and the focus on branding issues are essential if the ad industry is ever going to gain the respect of business leaders.

Great strides are being made on the subject. Our booklet for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, "The Impact of Advertising on Stock Performance," explains how advertising provides a direct impact on financial performance. Now we're working on a follow-up study that examines how advertising helps to build "corporate momentum" and how the message builds "corporate clarity."

These are major issues that will become extremely powerful tools in bridging the gap with senior management on the client side.

Others are working on measuring ROI for advertising, too. [Northwestern University Professor] Don Schultz just wrote a wonderful new book for the Association of National Advertisers that details a specific process for measuring the ROI for product advertising ("Why the heat is on today's marketing exec," Forum, AA, Oct. 20).

Our industry has never before been in a position where it can fully command the respect of its clients. This can be done by helping them understand precisely how effective advertising is in shaping the reputation and financial performance of the company.

From everything I have studied, the question is not which half of the advertising budget works, but rather are you getting the full 110% value that your advertising is capable of giving to your bottom line.

James R. Gregory

CEO, Corporate Branding

Stamford, Conn.

Parcells' Cadillac ads

We're quite puzzled by the opinion James Brady expressed in "Brady's Bunch" (AA, Feb. 2) concerning our Bill Parcells radio spots for Cadillac.

Our commercials featuring Coach Parcells have been running to great acclaim for a few months now, and have received overwhelmingly positive reviews. We think the coach did a great job, and judging from the numerous reactions we've seen a lot of other folks do, too. So it would seem Mr. Brady is alone in his opinion.

As for the question about how you could have a tailgate party from a Caddy, well .*.*. I guess Mr. Brady hasn't been to a Jets or Giants game in a while.

Steven Stark


Biederman, Kelly & Shaffer

New York

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