READY TO CRUISE THE HIGHWAY; E3 SAYS IT WAS FIRST; R&D DESERVES CREDIT, TOO; GRAMMATICAL STEW; SMOKEY'S JOB IS EDUCATION; BUSY VOLUNTEER; LEARNING HOW, BUT NOT WHY; A RAFT OF HOPEFULS?

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Kudos and congrats to those "cyberpunks" recognized in your Aug. 22 Interactive Media & Marketing section. I found the editorial comments following this section equally interesting as I'm one of those "cybercowgirls" out there cruising the highway/byway.

Whereas there are a number of groups within agencies forming to explore life, liberty and the pursuit of 500 channels (not to mention the pursuit of on-line nirvana), it's experimentation that I think will serve clients best.

Imploring agencies to change is just talk. Helping them by giving them the flexibility, support and bucks to invest in exploration will enable us all to cruise. How to make this all work as it applies to interactive advertising is confounding for now. Perhaps if clients banded together either interagency and/or intra-agency, the burden of discovery can be amortized among many. Let's find out.

Heidi J. Diamond

VP-consumer marketing & sales

Ameritech, Video & Interactive Services

Chicago

In response to the article "Trade show skirmish turns ugly" (AA, Aug. 29), it is evident that a few facts have managed to slip through the journalistic cracks.

First and foremost, "CES claims first dibs on the interactive entertainment show concept ... in April." A fact check would have uncovered that Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was the first to develop and market the concept back in December 1993.

Even though referring to E3 as "cockily billing itself as `the world's largest trade show dedicated' to interactive entertainment" borders on editorializing, we feel that the facts speak for themselves. Especially when you consider that we have signed contracts and substantial deposits from over 80 exhibitors and that the top 100 buyers are committed to attending E3.

Despite the continued spin doctoring from CES Interactive, it's clear that the interactive entertainment industry has put its weight behind E3.

Patrick J. Ferrell

President

Infotainment World

(Co-producers of E3)

San Mateo, Calif.

What really struck me about your "Marketing 100" special report (AA, July 4), beyond the young ages of many of the executives highlighted, was that in many cases the innovation or excellence of the product, rather than any special marketing, was the reason for the success story. A more accurate title for the report might be "Product 50/Marketing 50."

Take, for example, the Timex Indiglo. A picture of the product in a free standing insert was all the marketing this innovation needed. And Post's Banana Nut Crunch cereal-a great product, to be sure; should marketing get the credit for its success; or Post's R&D team? I vote for the latter.

A clue to the importance of the product was this tidbit on Nabisco's success story: "... created a team approach with a major focus on new products as the key to turning things around." As an executive with a company with much experience in product testing, I can tell you that developing new products and revamped products is becoming more and more important to the growth and even survival of companies in many industries these days.

Timothy L. Riggins

VP, Decision Analyst

Arlington, Texas

Regarding this ad from Northwest Airlines: Is there anyone else out there who thinks it should read:

"We fly better than them,

and they cook better than us."

Diane L. Schirf

Chicago

The article "Smokey Bear wants to catch fire" (AA, Aug. 15) contained several inaccuracies.

While the article states that "new licensed products could bring in $2 million next year alone," the fact remains that Smokey Bear licensed revenues have varied significantly since 1942, with an average of $50,000 annually. This is nowhere near the $2 million figure reported. All funds collected are used to further the forest fire prevention effort.

The article states that television and radio ads will be limited. Our policy prevents the use of broadcast advertising to support any licensing effort, and requests for use of printed advertisements are reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Neither the Forest Service nor Cambridge Consulting are trying to sell the Smokey Bear story. In 1952 Congress passed the Smokey Bear Act to protect the public interest in the character and to prevent it from being used primarily for profit. The act does, however, give the Secretary of Agriculture authority to allow commercial use of the Smokey Bear symbol and message when the use is determined to contribute to the public information efforts of the fire prevention program. Our licensing agreements are not driven by their commercial advantages; they are guided by the need to reinforce important educational messages.

May Jo Lavin

Director, Fire & Aviation

Management, Forest Service

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Washington

Please forgive my belated thanks for publishing the article about my Frosina Foundation to assist new Albanian arrivals to America (AA, March 14). What I did not foresee was the veritable avalanche of requests for help from these recent emigres. The demand has kept me and two parttime volunteers extremely busy.

Van Christo

Boston

Bravo for James Brady's "Why Johnny can't ... think" (AA, Aug. 17). It's about time somebody had the courage to dig into what might be the most dangerous social condition in this country: functional mediocrity.

Johnny can't think because the great American philosophy of pragmatism tells him it's not important-it's only results that matter. If "the end justifies the means" then critical thinking about social, philosophical issues such as principles and morals during the means-end process are insignificant. Don't think, just do it: For over a century we have taught and preached to Johnny the value of "how" without the value of "why." And through example we told (and continue to tell) Johnny not to worry about what's good and right, just be successful and get the desired results.

And he did. Johnny knows algebra, but he can't tell you the difference between logic and reason. Johnny can use a computer, but he can't tell you why computers can or cannot think, and the differences between people and science. Johnny can earn a wage, but he can't tell you what money really is. Worst of all, Johnny thinks success and wisdom are the same thing.

We are a society whose rising expectations stem from values and conditions that are results-intensive, and until this changes we will continue to throw money and attention to deals and ideals that meet this criterion regardless of what it does, how it does it, and who it affects in the means-end process. So why should Johnny develop his mind and his character to positive social ends when our society tells him otherwise?

Stanley Gans

Special marketing coordinator

CBS Radio Representatives

New York

I was a bit confused by your headline and photo and caption on the front page of the Aug. 29 issue. The headline states "U.S. marketers wait for opening in Cuba," but the caption of the photo showing folks on rafts refers to fleeing Cubans.

Are you sure the people on the rafts aren't U.S. marketers waiting to get into Cuba? Just a thought.

Neil Plunkett

Heathrow, Fla.

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