There are numerous ways in which we evaluate ourselves in the agency business, but rarely does anyone take such a long-term perspective as the editors of Advertising Age have done with your "50 Years of TV Advertising" issue.
It would be difficult to exaggerate how proud the people of Foote, Cone & Belding's San Francisco office are to have been honored by having our work included, not once but twice, in the "50 best spots of the past 50 years."
On behalf of each of them, I'd like to express our sincere appreciation for this extraordinary recognition. To be ranked among the creators of the classic commercials of our time places what we do in a different light altogether; and the sheer quality of the other advertising chosen underscores how meaningful this accomplishment is for us.
We've set a goal to try to qualify for inclusion in your next "50 best" list.
Exec VP-general manager
Foote, Cone & Belding
When 21st century starts
James R. Rosenfield's Forum article (AA, Feb. 13) starts out with the headline, "It's five years away but Millennium Fever is now."
True, a millennium is every 1,000 years and the year 2000 starts the third millennium, five years away.
But he also states, "while the turn of the century is still half A decade off....."
WRONG! A decade is ten years. What he is saying is that the 21st century is five years away. It's actually 6 years away., which is not "half a decade." The 21st century does not start until one millisecond past midnight on Dec. 31, 2000.
William J. Stevens
Lake Worth, Fla.
Tepid Army ads
Bob Garfield's review of the Army "lame update" campaign (AA, March 20) is a laser-targeted bullseye.
Having been a member of the N.W. Ayer Army account group that helped develop and introduce the "Be all you can be" campaign, I'm disappointed to see the tepid version that is now used. It has an absolute lack of the marvelous positioning and promise of the initial campaign (which included the "Good morning, first sergeant" spot cited in the column). It's too bad, since the reinforcement today of one of the highest unaided recall slogans of all time ("BAYCB-in the Army") is being wasted.
It's almost too bad the campaign was developed for the Army. Its tone, its appeal, would have worked even better as a slogan for the overall campaign of the U.S. Armed Forces, managed by the Department of Defense. And that's probably where all military recruiting advertising management should be, rather than parcelled out to the individual services. Certainly budget savings could be accomplished.
David L. Stanley
La Jolla, Calif.
If this is what it takes to install this company's new scanner, then I'm not interested!
But I did think you would like to add it to your collection of "Ads We Can Do Without."
Blaine S. Greenfield
Blaine Greenfield Associates
Bucks County, Pa.
Radio shouldn't ape TV
Radio and TV are definitely different, so let's not get caught up guaranteeing points in radio like TV does.
TV guarantees points because the shows are constantly changing. In March a buyer books a flight for May. Between here and there the show gets canceled, replaced, rescheduled, preempted or what-not. So to insure buyer satisfaction, TV guarantees points.
Radio, unlike TV, is predictable. If a station's format is country, the buyer can be pretty well assured it will be country two months from now.
Years ago, when there were only three powerful national TV networks, perhaps guaranteeing points made sense to some folks at the time. But in radio, and today in TV, where there isn't that consolidation of influence, isn't the practice of guaranteeing points archaic? Newspaper guarantees no points, nor does direct mail, nor does outdoor, nor should radio.
Please bear in mind that the pernicious habit of guaranteeing points in TV is a single-edged sword that cuts only in the buyer's favor. If a station doesn't deliver points, it makes 'em up or cuts charges. If a station over-delivers points, it is not paid for it. Guaranteeing points simply punishes media; it has no reward side to it.
Not a fresh theme
"They're not Levi's jeans until we say they are." The theme of the new campaign is perhaps designed to stimulate sales (AA, March 20), but one questions the use of a theme almost identical to one done several years ago by an underwear maker ("They're not Hanes until I say they're Hanes").
Surely the Levi's personnel who review concepts and themes and ultimately approve the final work for an advertising campaign should have known of a previously used theme. More importantly, the agency creating the spot should have known.
If Levi Strauss & Co. is struggling from stagnant sales, the company might do well to get back to the basics-improve product quality and "ask for the order!"
James R. Way
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