U.S. ASIANS LUCURATIVE MARKET; THE POLITICAL AD MESS; POLITICAL ADS A NEGATIVE; PRODUCT ADS NOT SO PURE; MICHIGAN MISS-AGAIN; DO AS I SAY; FRISBEE RESEARCH; OBJECTS TO XER PROTRAYAL

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As owner of the first and only all-Asian radio station in the U.S., I read with interest "Marketers straddle Asia-America curtain" (AA, Nov. 7). It never ceases to amaze me just how many different obstacles general market American companies impose on themselves that limit them from tap-ping into growing and lucrative, but unexplored, markets in their own backyards. They allow the language and cultural barriers to intimidate them into inertia and are afraid of taking the few extra steps that stimulate product movement within the various Asian markets.

The biggest mistake is to view the myriad of Asian and Asian-American markets as one intimidating monolithic market with a smattering of bewildering languages and customs bound to each other on the basis of continental origin.

If they would simply identify the primary Asian markets in their areas, treat them as distinct markets and build relationships with their local organizations and media, the task of tapping into their explosive influence and wealth is a lot easier. ... They would be surprised at how eager local community organizations and media are to partner with them and to guide them through the steps.

Edward A. Kim

President, KAZN

Pasadena, Calif.

Dear Fellow Americans Who Are Disgusted with Political Advertising:

If anyone inside the Beltway and in the various state capitals wonders why voters hold Congress and all politicians in such low regard, let them look at so-called political advertising. We have been taught by political advertising that everyone who runs for office lies, distorts records, is guilty of moral turpitude, financial greed and is generally a venal person. Is it any wonder that most Americans are disenchanted with their government-not in its form but in its practice? Is it at all surprising that the majority of us do not even vote, with many saying it does not matter who wins?

The power of the negative and the well-told lie has been known since the beginning of politics. It wasn't until this century, though, that the ever-increasing ability of mass media to widely disseminate such messages in a very short period of time to a large number of people turned this power into a very real danger. The rise of Nazism is the best known such example. In our own culture the "Atomic Bomb" ad which was used in Lyndon Johnson's 1964 campaign against Barry Goldwater is an oft cited example. And George Bush's campaign against Mike Dukakis used negative ads to great effect. Campaign '94 was the sad end result of a long historical march.

Something must be done. Political advertising, as currently practiced, is harming us all. Alex Kroll decried political advertising four years ago but unfortunately our industry did not back him up. Let's not fail this time. Ketchum Advertising has started an initiative. Write them in support. Ask them what you can do to help.

Gerald Linda

Gerald Linda & Associates

Glenview, Ill.

I believe most people feel a certain disgust with the negative advertising. But many observers miss a vital point.

This was an election decided on national issues. No Republican senator, congressman or governor was defeated. The biggest surprise was the size of the Republican House victory, affirming the Contract With America. The one thing President Clinton and Rep. Gingrich agreed upon was "nationalizing" issues-and the public voted on this.

Nor was the voting public indiscriminate: Where the Republicans offered flawed candidates, they lost.

It is time both the Washington Beltway crowd and the New York tower-dwellers consider whether traditional values are not the driving force in politics-and, at some point, advertising.

Harmon B. Miller III

President, Miller/Zell

Atlanta

Sorry Rance, I've gotta disagree with you this time. I think everything is wrong with negative political ads (Rance Crain column, AA, Nov. 14).

First of all, I'm not convinced they deserve the credit you gave them. The Republicans won overwhelmingly in the last election because people are disappointed with Mr. Clinton, and because of the general attitude these days of "vote the bums out ..." If our president did a better job of selling himself, the results may have been quite different. I think the Democrats were victims of the political tide more than negative advertising.

But the real tragedy of negative political ads is this: They don't inform the consumer (voter) about the product (candidate). I don't know of anyone who really believes what one politician says about another. Meanwhile, they are so busy slinging mud that they don't have time to explain their own benefits, or tell us why we should vote for them.

Whatever else he may have done, at least Ross Perot forced Bush and Clinton to address the issues that really concern us. Can you imagine a Chevy ad that only slams Ford and never talks about the benefits of driving a Chevy? I don't think it would work.

Tim Donohoe

Advertising coordinator

Thermotron Industries

Holland, Mich.

I agree with most of your editorial "Good riddance" (AA Nov. 14), except the part that stated "... political advertising is a breed apart and not at all representative of advertising as practiced by traditional marketers." Just watch TV commercials by the leading marketers of automobiles, pain relievers, cereals and other products and notice how many of them name competing products and knock them down. This, to my mind, is negative advertising.

When I was in the advertising agency business we wouldn't dare use the name of a competing product in our advertising. We felt that mentioning a similar product just gave it publicity. We just stressed the main selling features in our product so the prospective customer would, or might, believe ours was the best. How times have changed!

Leslie S. Hauger

Tulsa, Okla.

I am PO'd to see that you omitted the Upper Peninsula as part of Michigan from the map on Page 58 of your Nov. 7 issue.

It is my goal in life to educate the geographically ignorant staffs of publications such as yours that the state of Michigan is made up of two parts! These parts are commonly called Upper & Lower Michigan. ... The kindly and gentle indigenous folk of northern Michigan are called Yoopers and spend all of their time hunting, fishing and eating pasties.

Clyde E. Morgan

Columbia, Mo.

Am I missing something here? This trade ad from Penthouse tells the ad community to "Stop thinking about us that way." But what do we get in the way of the graphic and body copy?

We get a suggestive picture of a peach, along with the words "bulging ... penetrating ... stimulated ... We can satisfy you in ways you never thought possible."

If you want us to stop thinking about you that way, then don't talk to us that way-OK?

Chris Farlow

Midwest manager, Health

Chicago

I am conducting research for a new book on the history and birthplace of Frisbee playing. (Ultimate Frisbee is being considered as a demonstration sport for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.)

I need to rediscover early Frisbee games, artifacts, competitions and published results. ... I invite anyone with early (pre-1965) Frisbee information to contact me and become part of the process. I will inform everyone involved with this Frisbee research of my final conclusions.

Victor Malafronte

(Original World Frisbee

Champion-1974)

P.O. Box 4020-002

Alameda, Calif. 94501

I have seen the movies. I have read the books. I have tolerated the media frenzy. I must tell you that I have now seen the editorial cartoon that laid this camel flat. "Xer will whine for food" (AA, Nov. 14) is the proverbial last straw. As a 25-year-old advertising rep for a large newspaper I can't help but become overwhelmingly frustrated by this opinion of my generation.

I am a steady reader of Advertising Age and although it may surprise some of you genius "Boomers" out there, not only do people of my age enjoy trade publications such as this, we don't even need help with the big words! This term has been bandied about until it has now taken on a meaning so derogatory I refuse to use it. Once and for all I would like to state that we are not an entire era of lazy, stupid unmotivated "Laverne & Shirley"-rerun-watching morons.

We only want what every other generation before us wanted-a fair shake. We are marketing reps and lawyers, future physicians and CPAs. Teachers and reporters. Call us young if you wish. Call us unseasoned if you must. But we politely request that you stop calling us lazy!

Sheila M. Croteau

Paxton, Mass.

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