ANOTHER SMALL GLOBAL SHOP; WHAT'S MCI SELLING?; A FAULTY MAP; COMPETITION SUFFERS; N.Y. RADIO IS HOT, TOO; SNAPPLE STRATEGY FLAWED; WHY NO MORE VEEP JOKES?; A BAD SPELL

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In response to your profile of Schell/Mullaney (Agency Innovators, AA, Sept. 12) and their claim of "the world's smallest global agency," we were pleased to find there's at least one other agency like ourselves.

For the past three years we've had a group dedicated to servicing the needs of AT&T local marketing offices around the world on nearly a 24-hour-a-day basis. Set up as a completely self-contained Local Market Support unit within the agency, this 12-person group utilizes state-of-the-art computer and communication technology to develop a constant stream of customizable advertising materials ranging from ads to direct mail to outdoor for our global "clients."

Much like Schell/Mullaney's experience, our "paperless" vision helped us replace a host of domestic and international agencies to serve the fast turnaround needs of the AT&T local offices. In the bargain, AT&T has discovered the tremendous time and money-saving efficiencies of having one group do work that can be leveraged or customized by multiple offices, as well as having us serve as watchdogs on logo usage and the AT&T global branding message.

Scott Daniels

Howard Davidson

J. Brown/LMC Group

Stamford, Conn.

Many thanks for explaining-or trying to explain-the MCI ads currently running on television (AA, Sept. 12).

I have seen only one of the ads, but I have seen it three times, so I didn't know there was a series.

It seemed to me that there actually is a Gramercy Press because the name has a familiar ring. At first I thought they were trying to sell printing or the publication of books. My wife explained that evidently Gramercy Press is not selling printing in the ads, but that it is a good-sized printing firm that is going to modernize its operation and use MCI equipment to do so. We never did determine exactly what MCI is selling, what the product would do for its users, or where to buy it.

Because we missed the 90-second plot background spot, we knew nothing of the story about Darlene and the relations of the other employees.

It was very good of you to tell us what MCI is selling. In all seriousness, we will watch the spots to see if those products are actually promoted on them.

John M. Klock

Chairman, Klock Advertising

Hazel Park, Mich.

Congratulations! You've rearranged the western portion of the U.S. to delete New Mexico without the slightest bit of help from California's San Andreas Fault.

The entire 122,000 square miles of New Mexico have been completely eradicated from the map that served as the centerpiece for your story, "Vacationland USA" (AA, Aug. 8). Somehow the Grand Canyon has managed to shift southeastward into the area formerly known as America's Land of Enchantment, where 350,000 visitors plan vacations each year, with 37.3% taking place during the summer months.

As a point of information, when compared to Colorado, Arizona, Florida and California (which survived your land mass remodeling), New Mexico receives the highest ratings, based on a national independent study, as "A great place for a family vacation."

See you at the Balloon Fiesta in October.

James E. McKenna

Senior VP, account director for

New Mexico Department of Tourism, Rick Johnson & Co.

Albuquerque, N.M.

When I moved to Houston a few years ago, there was a wonderful video rental outlet called Sound Warehouse. It offered a vast selection of titles to rival Blockbuster's at very low prices and allowed renters to keep the videos for several nights. The store had numerous locations and, as the name suggests, was also a music vendor.

Soon thereafter, Blockbuster bought Sound Warehouse and prohibited it from renting movies. Sound Warehouse still exists, but only as a music outlet, the profits of which are now Blockbuster's, of course.

What's so great about a company that, rather than actually competing, simply buys out its only serious competitor, depriving consumers of the sort of prices only competition can produce? Surely this is not what we mean when we extol the virtues of the "free markets" of capitalism over those societies with tighter government control?

Pamela Gilbert-Snyder

Houston

I read your feature in the Sept. 5 issue on the "5 Hottest Radio Markets" with a great deal of interest and some puzzlement as to the criteria used.

Some of the growth figures cited for '94 vs. '93 were not so extraordinary. For examples: 8% for San Diego, 7.4% for San Francisco and 5% for Miami are all below the 11% for the radio industry for the first seven months of '94 and 9% for July.

The New York radio market, not cited as one of the five hottest, is up 10.7% for the first seven months and 11% for July. .*.*. At this rate, the market will finish at about $375 million for the year, an all-time high.

Sanford Josephson

Executive director

New York Market Radio

Broadcasters Association

New York

Editor's note: The five markets were selected on the basis of gross radio revenues per household, determined by dividing gross radio revenues by the number of households in the market.

Your article "Coke ices joint venture" (AA, Sept. 5) demonstrates again the proven folly of going head to head with industry giants. Snapple's apparent belief they can sustain direct competition with Coke and Pepsi without leveraging Snapple's real strengths is now obviously a flawed strategy.

Unfortunately, [Snapple President-CEO] Leonard Marsh's closing comment in your article gives even less hope for the future of this potentially great company. A "smaller piece of a huge category ..." without real, consumer-demanded brand differentiation, only remains successful in a growing market.

This market, like all others, will stop growing. When it does, Coke and Pepsi will maintain shelf space. Undifferentiated brands will lose their place. For a recent example, you only need look at the rapid demise of the California Cooler brand when the wine cooler category cooled.

Mitchell Gooze

Partner, OMT Group

Santa Clara, Calif.

Jim Brady, in late 1992, just prior to our current Veep assuming office, I wrote you regarding your relentless assailing of then Vice President Dan Quayle. You assured me not to worry, the ponderous Al Gore would offer you many opportunities to take a few pot shots also.

Almost two years have passed. He has; you haven't. Prove me wrong, but nary a word in your weekly column about "Re-inventing Al." I would think your helping them circle the wagons a bit premature, although the flip-flops of the current administration might help dictate it.

They are now embracing Dan Quayle's family values, although Surgeon General Elders says it's okay for teens to have sex, but don't smoke afterwards!

Ken Elert

Elert & Associates

Wauwatosa, Wis.

Jim Brady is right about spelling problems (Brady's Bunch, AA, Aug. 29). For another prominent example, just turn to Page 15 of the same issue where a headline urges us to attend an Ad Age conference on "intergrated" marketing.

Ray Lewis

Northbrook, Ill.

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