I write to applaud your recent editorial praising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the new public service announcements aimed at preventing the sexual spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among young adults (AA, Jan. 17).
AIDS is a public health emergency that kills an average of 92 Americans a day. Nationally, there have been 339,250 cases of AIDS reported as of September 1993. Between 1991 and 1992, heterosexual transmission was the fastest growing transmission category of newly reported AIDS cases.
We have the knowledge and technology to prevent new infections. It is our duty, as public health officials, to communicate life-saving information to our citizens through all means at our disposal.
Young adults need to know that the surest way to prevent AIDS is to refrain from having sex. That is a message we, as health educators, have a commitment to emphasize.
But, at the same time, we must be realistic. By age 20, 86% of young men and 77% of young women report having had intercourse. The scientific literature tells us that latex condoms, used consistently and correctly, significantly reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Thank you for supporting our effort to disseminate this vital information.
U.S. Secretary of Health
& Human Services
AIDS campaign logical
The editorial on the new AIDS-prevention campaign from the Centers for Disease Control (AA Jan. 17) was not only ill-informed, it defied the concept upon which the advertising industry has built itself: Raising awareness translates into increased consumption.
In this editorial the author worried why the CDC launched a general campaign rather than targeting the "highest identifiable population segments, such as gays and intravenous drug users." The gay community has been educating and caring for itself in response to the AIDS crisis for more than a decade, all the while trying to sound the alarm to the government and the general public about this deadly disease. That the rate of new infection among gay men has steadily decreased for the last few years at the same time it has risen dramatically among heterosexuals is directly attributable to the gay community's self-education and our society's dismissal of AIDS as a threat to the general public-an attitude Ad Age mirrors in that editorial.
Apparently the author still needs a reminder that AIDS is a world health crisis, and that with the exception of the United States it is transmitted primarily through heterosexual sex.
It is tragic that it has taken the federal government and the television industry as long as it has to launch a public service campaign promoting the use of condoms. Now that they have, the logical first phase is a campaign to raise awareness in the general public, with a hoped-for increase in condom usage as the result.
After all, if general advertising worked for personal computers and bottled water, it can work for condoms.
As for why none of the ads he created for the government's new anti-AIDS campaign includes gay characters, Ogilvy & Mather's Ian Latham states (AA, Jan. 10) that he wanted "the condom to be the hero." This might explain the concept behind one of his ads in particular, but it doesn't begin to explain why all of the other 12 public service ads also fail to target gays.
It is certainly understandable that some-even most-of the anti-AIDS ads would be created for generic audiences. However, a condom can only be a "hero" for someone who chooses to use it. Convincing men and women to make this choice requires that PSAs portray images of romantic and/or sexual situations that are relevant to those who are disproportionately hard hit by this disease: gays and African-Americans, for example. Once we start doing that, we can all be heroes.
Crosses the line
This Orchid Technology ad in NewMedia magazine seems to speak loudly in language now acceptable to a generation of "techies" and makes me wonder about the future of advertising and promotion. .*.*. How far behind can the "f" word be?
As a writer who believes that word meaning should be precise, I'm often appalled at the carelessness of some public use of language while at the same time delighted with the flexibility our language can have. But "infriggincredible" crosses a line that makes me uncomfortable.
VP-creative services, Alba Kids
In-store incentives work for all
A statement attributed to me in the article "Coupon marketers felt chill in '93" (AA, Jan. 17) did not accurately portray my viewpoint. While I did say that a national coupon drop is often inappropriate for marketers with small target audiences, I did not say or mean to imply the inverse: that these are the companies "most likely to use in-store couponing" or that "for big marketers, in-store couponing will never replace FSIs."
This would contradict our company's philosophy and the purpose of our core program, Checkout Coupon. Checkout Coupon is an in-store electronic marketing system that delivers incentives to more than 100 million shoppers every week at the point of scan in more than 7,000 supermarkets nationwide. The program's goal is to eliminate waste by targeting individual shoppers based on their actual purchases, and it has proven effective in reaching audiences of all sizes, from mass to micro. In reality, the vast majority of our clients are "big marketers," including Nestle, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kraft General Foods and Campbell Soup Co.
Catalina Marketing Corp.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
What needs to be said
Jim Brady's Viewpoint piece in the Jan. 17 issue, "Going to the graveyard," is definitely one of his most thoughtful. I'm certain he'll get plenty of mail and this fan wants to express her gratitude. Thank goodness he is there to pay attention to this kind of issue.
I read Jim Brady's "Going to the Graveyard," and applaud him for his coverage and for saying what needs to be said.
Where are the black leaders? Where are the other columnists? Why are they silent?
Exec VP, American Association
of Advertising Agencies
The Weadon touch
I had missed the sad news of Don Weadon's death. ... Thanks for the obit in Brady's Bunch (AA, Dec. 20).
I spent some wonderful time with Don when I was at Money, and he was a collaborator of ours in those early days (1978-82), helping to get "America's Financial Advisor" up and running. ... What I respected about Weadon was his get-up-and-go, in the face of huge odds, at a time when he had been furloughed with the demise of the old Life. Never mind that. Don came to work every day, full head of steam, with a hundred ideas to offer and as much conviction and passion for his adopted product as the rest of us.
I miss Don, just thinking about those memories. Thank you, again, for the opportunity to reflect on the friendship of a very special man.
Seth E. Hoyt