VIEWPOINT;LETTERS TO THE EDITOR;BMW ADS WORKING;CLARIFYING A COMMENT;COMMODITY ADS POPULAR;WHAT THE WEB CAN DO

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Most certainly Bob Garfield's review of BMW's message (AA, May 6) must be in jest or maybe he is confused about the new BMW 5 Series commercial, but my prospects aren't. I am hearing nothing but positive comments, and they get the analogy: The 5 Series is a nimble, spirited, fun to drive alternative in luxury class. From the dealer's perspective here in Southern California, the ad is working just fine.

For my money, Fallon's doing the best advertising we've had in years. Check the spending levels for our competitors on Page 36 of the same issue of Ad Age. Then match those with the sales figures in your sister publication, Automotive News. BMW is getting an excellent return on its advertising investment with Fallon's work, and we'll bet that the new spot for the 5-Series continues that momentum.

It is the consensus of the BMW dealers that Fallon will continue to do outstanding creative work today and in the future.

Dennis D. Assael

Chairman, BMW National

Dealer Council

Monrovia, Calif.

While I want to thank you for what was generally an outstanding job on the commemorative insert celebrating our 50th anniversary (AA, May 13), I do feel that I have to correct what could be a misimpression created in the interview...with me.

In the paragraph where I was talking about my old friend and partner, Charlotte Beers, and was asked what it was like to work with her, after accurately describing her leadership qualities I started laughing as I described her day-to-day management style. I meant it lovingly....And I was very upset when it appeared in the story. For the record, Charlotte Beers was not only a terrific leader. She was a damn good manager. And while she did thrive on crisis (and, I must admit, occasionally created one), it was a joy and a pleasure-both professionally and personally-to work with her.

And I want to make that perfectly clear.

Ralph W. Rydholm

Chairman-CEO

Euro RSCG Tatham

In the first paragraph of your story about a lawsuit being filed against the California Milk Advisory Board (AA, April 29), there are a couple of seriously misleading implications.

First, you called these commodity promotion programs "government mandated." While it is true there are laws establishing these programs, they exist because they were approved in a referendum by the commodity producers who foot the bill. Therefore, although there is government involvement, they are basically "producer mandated."

Also, you stated that there are farmers' continuing grass-roots efforts against these commodity advertising programs. I think it would be more accurate to state that there are a few litigious producers who are against these programs. This can hardly be characterized as "grass roots." Arguably, there may be some grass roots disagreement, but most of the commodity advertising boards continue to enjoy strong support from their producer constituency.

The referendum to create a mandatory assessment for egg promotion was approved by nearly 90% of the producers voting and they represented 93% of the production voting. A couple of years ago, a referendum to increase the assessment for egg promotion passed by a two-thirds majority.

When a producer can't convince others to agree with his position, he does what any American would do, he sues.

Louis B. Raffel

President, American Egg Board

The Procter & Gamble Webvertising debacle has captured the attention of the entire Internet business community, but so far I've not heard anyone address the fundamental issue: What can the Web do that other advertising media cannot?

Let's consider print, the Web's closest analog for now. When advertisers buy space in a magazine they are told that X number of eyeballs will look at the few lines of copy and the few pretty pictures they've created. The average CPM for print is around $50.

When advertisers buy space on a Web site they are told that X number of eyeballs will look at the few lines of copy and the few pretty pictures they've created. For that, advertisers should also pay a $50 CPM.

But Web advertisers have the opportunity for something more: to convert some percentage of those eyeballs into people who will spend upwards of an hour clicking, reading, writing, talking, listening and, most importantly, buying their products. How much is that worth?

The true test comes in converting eyeballs into people. It's going to take a whole new era of creative minds working in new environments with new technology to accomplish this. And the fact is that Madison Ave. simply isn't there yet. So they blame the model.

Don't kid yourselves, folks. There's not some Web guru with a P&G business card strategizing the remodeling of Web publishing. Rather, it's scared agencies and consultants that can't figure out how to get consumers to click that are fighting this battle.

You know what? I don't blame them. But in the end I am confident that the publishers and advertisers will arrive at a win-win. Good business always does.

Bo Peabody

CEO, Tripod

Williamstown, Mass.

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(312) 649-5331. Letters can also be e-mailed to edit@adage.com.

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