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Rance Crain is right ("Ads make Nike more approachable, but it's no longer true to its culture," AA, Jan. 12). If it wants "I can" to melt the surface monolith, Nike's done a nice job. Nice campaign strategy.

But where did the Nike brand go?

Is Nike splashing around in the self-motivate, 12-step pool with women's Reebok; hiding behind a nicey-nice, serenity-through-sneaker attitude? . . .

It looks nice enough. Where's the gritty emotional attitude? Since when did nice mean the best? Is sport competition nice? Is sweating against anyone, even yourself, nice? Are any real "leaders" nice? . . .

[Nike] should Just Say It and stop trying to fool people.

Christina Papale

Lee Hunt Associates

New York

In his column, Rance Crain sees the glass as half full. I would argue there is another side to the changes that Nike has made to its brand image and equity, and that-in fact-the glass is half empty.

Since first seeing the new strategy as advertising, I have been perplexed about whether Nike is brilliant, bored with its own success or (worse yet) playing the stock market instead of the consumer. (It is worth noting there is a new head of marketing at Nike.)

As someone who has spent his marketing career studying and developing winning marketing strategies, I am always fascinated when a leading company makes a move to change the rules. After spending years and billions on marketing, Nike appears to be walking away from its strength.

Could the fabled swoosh have become so ubiquitous that it is wearing out? Does its brand name in bold, block-capital letters need refreshing? (How many leadership logos are in lower case italics?) Perhaps Nike knows the answer. Perhaps not.

My prediction is Nike made a terrible mistake. Rance is probably right about its need to be more approachable. But deciding to leave a strong brand logo and to minimize the signature swoosh is clearly puzzling. Although we will have to wait, I predict their changes will not work out as currently executed. Nike will need to refill the glass with existing equity in order to find a path that is truer to itself.

Peter J. Flatow

President, CoKnowledge

Westport, Conn.

`Wash. Times' omitted

It's inconceivable that a piece on public-policy advertising focusing on the Washington market ("Ad campaigns take hold in public-policy lobbying," AA, Dec. 22) can be written without a mention of The Washington Times. Our newspaper carries more public-policy linage than any publication in the area. Using Northwest Airlines as an example, since it was mentioned in the article, The Washington Times ran almost twice as many ads for this account as any other publication in town. The article stated that issue advertising has doubled at The Washington Post in the past four years. Impressive growth. But here at The Washington Times issue advertising has grown eight times in the same time period!

The Washington Times does an excellent job in this important and growing category, and it does smart a little when the top player doesn't even get a mention.

Jim Hayden

National advertising manager

The Washington Times


Add luck to checklist

Just wanted to to tell you how much I enjoyed "Want to start an agency? Use this checklist first" by John Emerling (Forum, AA, Jan. 12). When I started Margeotes/Fertitta in 1973, I only wish I was aware of the seven points he outlined. The only two of the seven points I thought out was finding the right partner (John Margeotes) and knowing our product would excel (once again, John Margeotes' talent).

All seven points represent good sound advice, and the only one I would add is a strong element of luck.

George Fertitta


Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners

New York

Designers' ads work

Re: Martin Landy's article ("Where's the idea in these ads," Forum, AA, Dec. 15) on how all those top fashion designers don't know what good advertising is.

I think anyone will admit that the images created by Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren through their advertising have played a major part in their success and brand recognition. If their advertising is so average, how come they have built such amazing businesses and images?

Could it be that these designers really know more about how to build a brand than your self-appointed expert?

Dick Tarlow

Chairman and President

Tarlow Advertising

New York

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