VIEWPOINT;LETTERS TO THE EDITOR;PAST HOLDS IDENTITY;MUST PROTECT KIDS;TOBACCO IN DENIAL;DISABLED IN ADS;CORRECTIONS

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I find it puzzling that agencies are puzzling over their brand identity (AA, May 6). The answer is in their own "corporate memory." By looking back towards their roots or the roots of the companies that have joined together, they most likely will find shared characteristics, cultural and personality similarities, and some interesting characters.

Sure there will be cultural and personality differences-particularly after mergers. Creating a new corporate culture, image and brand with perhaps many ingredients in the pot could challenge even Julia Child. But by looking backwards, they may well find the recipe to create a brand identity that doesn't sacrifice "unification" for the benefits of diversity.

The introduction to the "Splendors of Imperial China" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art states a belief from which everyone and every company may benefit: "Only those with a clear understanding of the past can have a vision of the future."

Phyllis Barr

Barr Consulting Service

New York

Should tobacco advertising be restricted by the Food & Drug Administration so as not to appeal to children? That urgent question is dividing the advertising leadership from the general public and, we surmise, from the industry's own rank and file members.

The Freedom to Advertise Coalition, made up of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and other trade associations, vehemently answers "no." They say the Constitution requires us to allow cigarette billboards near elementary schools; to allow seductive tobacco ads in youth-oriented magazines; to allow free giveaways of "gear" kids love. In short, they argue, Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man must be given unfettered access to our children.

The Constitution, of course, says nothing of the sort. The FDA's proposed regulations are consistent with every Supreme Court pronouncement on commercial speech, including the recent decision on 44 Liquormart v. Rhode Island. Unlike Rhode Island's ban on liquor price advertising, the FDA's proposed restrictions are narrowly tailored to protect children, are based on ample scientific evidence and will withstand the tobacco industry's legal challenges.

Let's be honest: The real issue facing the advertising industry is ethical, not legal. The question is, should concern for the health of our children come before concern for business profits? Members of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, comprised of nearly 100 diverse organizations, unequivocally answer "yes." So too does Rance Crain in his Advertising Age column of Oct. 30, "Don't let advertising go up in smoke." He underscores that a major cause of advertising's tarnished image is its relationship with tobacco.

We believe the majority of advertising industry employees agrees with us. We invite men and women who daily create memorable and effective advertising to make their voices heard on this crucial issue. The ad industry has a responsibility to lead by example as well as to reflect society's values. The time has come to put our children's health before business profits.

William D. Novelli

Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Washington

Denial is a uniquely human tool of survival in both our personal and business lives.

Consider, for example, our friends in the tobacco industry. Despite years and reams of research clearly demonstrating the effects of this substance on smokers, chewers and their children, tobacco growers, manufacturers, marketers and their agencies continue to prosper with a very simple dictum: "We grow; you die."

Get 'em while they're young and you have a customer for life. It's a wonderful business for the denial-enabled.

3M National Media, on the other hand, has apparently decided that tobacco is a business they can do without. We applaud their decision to unilaterally withdraw from providing outdoor venues for tobacco advertising, and we hope this move will challenge others in the advertising, marketing and promotions business to think a bit more clearly about their own choices and responsibilities.

Don Dewey

Dewey Communications

Minneapolis

I am extremely disappointed that no advertisers (to the best of my knowledge) have yet responded to the campaign of the Advertising Coalition for People With Disabilities to encourage use of disabled people in print ads and TV commercials.

Being a one-legged housewife and mother myself, I was excited at the prospect that America's many disabled citizens would be given long-overdue recognition through participation in marketing and promotional efforts.

I have seen the coalition's ads in Advertising Age a couple of times over the past year, but as yet I have not seen any disabled people in any of the ads I've viewed over the past year. Where are they?

I hope that the coalition's program is still alive and functioning. And I hope that if and when we begin to see disabled people in advertising, we women amputees will get appropriate representation among the models who appear.

Lisa Sullivan

Boston

In "Apple makes an Olympic play" (May 20, P. 48), the address for the official Summer Olympics Web site designed by IBM Corp. is http://www.atlanta.olympic.org.

In "FMI eyes eatery, online foes" (May 13, P. 46), the correct Internet address for Catalina Marketing Online's Supermarkets Online program is http://www.supermarkets.com.

TO POST OR E-MAIL LETTERS

Address letters to Advertising Age, Viewpoint Editor, 740 Rush St., Chicago 60611. Fax: (312) 649-5331. Letters can also be e-mailed to edit@adage.com.

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