I don't take exception with your choice of advertisers to include in your Marketing 100 special section (AA, June 30). I do take exception with the overall philosophy behind choosing the advertisers.
How can you believe the most important element behind a marketing plan is its creativity? Creativity for the sake of being creative, with little attempt to be effective, may be the downfall of the industry.
How many times have agencies taken a very creative campaign to a prospective client, had it approved, but after the campaign the agency is dropped? The reason? No results.
Case in point? Milk. A very expensive, high-profile, wide-reaching, high-frequency campaign that produced a less than 1% increase in sales volume. Of course, the blame was put on a cost increase.
On the other side of the coin, our agency produced a low-budget, information-only TV commercial for a hotel client. We placed it in four markets for one month and our client experienced a 30% increase in room bookings compared to the corresponding month last year .*.*.
I say that until the advertising industry decides to become responsible for the results that it produces (or lack thereof), it will continue to be difficult to get advertisers to increase budgets significantly.
And as for creative-based campaigns: I guess a great creative idea that doesn't work isn't such a great idea after all.
Media planner, Luke & Landis
USP is a good start
I enjoyed Rance Crain's column on the Unique Selling Proposition ("Tragos reignites anew the debate over Unique Selling Proposition," AA, July 7). He made a good point.
What a lot of people have forgotten, or never realized, is that a Unique Selling Proposition is behind the great advertising created by Doyle Dane Bernbach; Carl Ally Inc.; Scali, McCabe, Sloves; and others.
Some examples that come quickly to mind:
for Volkswagen, "After we paint the car, we paint the paint";
for Chivas Regal, "Tsk, tsk" (Pouring ordinary Scotch into a Chivas bottle won't really fool anyone-anyone who knows Scotch);
for Volvo, "Fat cars die young";
for Avis, "We're only No. 2, so we have to try harder";
for Federal Express, "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."
The problem with the USP as Ted Bates & Co. and Rosser Reeves practiced it was that they stopped after they got the USP and produced advertising from which we all needed fast, fast, fast relief, eight ways.
The great advertising I referred to above started with a USP, then created executions with wonderful copy and visuals (entertainment, if you will) to express it.
Thus we got:
"Speecy, spicy meatballs" for Alka Seltzer;
"The man who drives the snowplow" for Volkswagen; and
"Fast-talking man" for Federal Express.
These are all advertisements where the USP, the product benefit, "the reason why," is integral to the commercial.
People would ask, "Did you see the Volkswagen commercial about the man who drives the snowplow?"
As opposed to asking, "Who did the funny commercial with the penguin?"
Kenneth A. Sausville
Exec VP-Creative Director
Lunt Sausville Burek
Tell truth about Apple
What kind of doubletalk are you spewing in your July 7 editorial about Apple Computer's decision to conduct an ad review ("What Apple must do now")?
You launched the editorial stating BBDO is a good agency and Apple is a bad client. Then you state that, during BBDO West's 11-year relationship with Apple, the computer company's market share plummeted from 13.8% to 3.3% But, you reassure, the problem isn't BBDO or advertising, it's Apple.
Finally, you end the piece stating that insanely great advertising will put the brand back in the game.
Either the problem is advertising or it's the company. Despite your inexhaustible cheerleading for the power of advertising, the real problem lies with the company's poor marketing strategy. A new agency won't put them back in the game.
Good advertising is almost incidental to the success of Apple. The real problem is within the company.
Kevin B. Tynan
In "Hilton ad consolidation to create $40 million prize" (July 14, P. 4), HFS is not the parent company of Holiday Inn.