The tug of war between ad agencies and management consultants is one manifestation of a bigger issue: the executive suite's detachment from advertising. As Rance Crain alluded to in his May 11 column "Nobody loves you? Try advertising," the preoccupation with quarterly earnings puts advertising at odds with its customers. When we're at odds with customers, we have a problem.
The ad industry has two options: Find a convincing way to show top executives short-term goals erode brand equity and profits over time, or start working with them to enhance quarterly performance. The American Advertising Federation and its members are tired of hand-wringing. We need to reach this very audience of top executives. On June 18 we launch a multi-year integrated marketing campaign to address them.
Years in the making, it is one initiative that serves to unite our multi-faceted membership of advertisers, agencies, media companies and ad clubs behind a common goal: protecting the investment in advertising and changing the way it's viewed in the executive suite.
Is it just a coincidence that AAF's corporate membership has grown rapidly over the past few months? I don't think so. The value of this campaign is reflected in the support of these companies.
American Advertising Federation
The facts about NNN
Several of us at the Newspaper National Network were surprised by the Newspaper Special Report article on "the two major one-order, one-bill newspaper planning and implementation services" ("A tweak here, twist there for 1-order, 1-bill systems," AA, April 20).
It erred in referring to us as the National Newspaper Network. Not only is there no such company, but the actual NNN (the Newspaper National Network) has been covered many times in your editorial pages.
Secondly, it did not clearly differentiate the purpose of NNN and the purpose of Publicitas. It correctly reported "NNN handles scheduling and rate negotiation, with Publicitas handling implementation and back office-services." Paul Bankert's quote about Publicitas and Media Passage not being able to negotiate rates is also correct. It seems to imply, however, that this is a shortcoming.
In fact, those companies were not set up to negotiate rates. They are the back offices for other businesses, such as NNN. Paul's conclusion about rate negotiations, "That's still something we have to handle directly," however, is not true -- at least not when it comes to working with the Newspaper National Network.
NNN is a sales and marketing initiative funded by the 47 largest circulation U.S. newspapers, operating under the auspices of the Newspaper Association of America. It develops customized advertising and marketing programs for advertisers in seven national categories, and for these it works directly with the client to set negotiated rates based on CPMs.
Based on the marketing goals of its clients, NNN sets up newspaper networks for each buy that will achieve the greatest penetration for the greatest efficiency for the advertiser. Newspapers that have signed participatory agreements with NNN honor the negotiated rates NNN brings to them when NNN has an advertiser who wants to run in their pages.
Nick Cannistraro Jr.
President and General Manager
Newspaper National Network
The Advertising Age and Adweek cover photos of Jerry Seinfeld gracing their May 11 issues are identical. And the Ad Age headline "Super Sein-off" is essentially the same as Adweek's "The Long Sein-off."
Tsk. Tsk. Common stock photos and hackneyed headlines from two pubs that vociferously criticize ad agencies for creative monotony. What would Bob Garfield and Mark Dolliver say about this humdrum journalistic mimicry?
Do either have the chutzpah to comment? I triple dare Bob.
Bob Garfield replies: "Such hackneyed monotonous humdrum mimicry! If only both publications would downplay the major news story of the week, and consult one another about headlines and art, such embarrassments would never occur."
* In "Sony set to pick ad agency for new-generation floppy" (May 18, P. 8), Sony Electronics' HiFD disk-drive review includes Harrington Group, Morristown, N.J., but not Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco.
* In "Miller restages High Life brand with nod to past" (May 18, P. 27), Bacardi-Martini USA markets Hatuey beer.
* In "Drug office discloses plan for anti-drug ad spending" (May 4, P. 64), the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's tentative anti-drug advertising media plan was developed by Creative Media, New York.