VIEWPOINT: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Saab in GM's blender

As a loyal Saab owner, I read with amusement your piece on their new advertising from the Martin Agency ("Saab spotlights heritage in ads planned by Martin," AA, May 26).

If memory serves, Saab (which has had more agencies over the last 20 years than I've had hot dinners) has gone back to the "we build planes, therefore we must build great cars" theme several times. It has surface appeal but it's an ad, not a campaign .*.*.

I was a great admirer of the Angotti, Thomas, Hedge advertising, which succeeded brilliantly in capturing the essence of "the brand" and the relationship of Saab owners to their brand. Now, apparently, Saab is to be homogenized in the good old General Motors blender, from "rebel, quirky, irreverent" to "leader, purposeful, confident." To the car buyer, how does that differentiate a Saab from a comparably sized and priced BMW or Mercedes? Both outscore Saab on comparison tests and have done a pretty good job on "leader, purposeful, confident" scales.

But the people at Saab are not the first to denigrate the equity in their own brand, seeing it not as something to build on, but as holding them back. With luck, their next agency will rediscover the essence of the Saab brand in its traditional quirky, non-conformist image. We can only hope.

Ian Brookbanks

Sweet Reason Creative Services,

Chicago

Another view on Denny's

Regarding Bob Garfield's Ad Review "Class consciousness hurts Denny's ads," (AA, June 2), [he] needs to lighten up.

The Denny's ad represents one segment of the African-American population. Too often black images in the media are negative or stereotypical. What is BG talking about when he talks about "well-heeled ideals of aristocratic black beauty?" Give me a break, please!

Those are not Armani suits in the commercial. Plus Afros are not worn by blacks these days. And that statement about "good" hair! BG really shows his ignorance about blacks in this area. And what is so unfortunate is that most whites who read BG's review would think he knows what he's talking about.

Next time, I would suggest that BG do a bit more research before he writes about the more subtle aspects of the black experience. As a black consumer, I am more disturbed with BG's poor attempt at providing insight into black culture and the subjective tone of his review than with the Denny's ad produced by Mingo.

Bob Garfield totally missed the point. Maybe Denny's target audience for this particular ad campaign was the black professional and not the blue-collar worker.

Barbara Rudd

VP-western advertising director

Ebony and Jet

Los Angeles

When the shark bites

I've read with great interest your May 5 story ("Steel gets $100 mil campaign") about the new Steel Alliance campaign, with the ad showing a shark attacking a diving cage. The reason for my interest was because of the enclosed campaign, created over a year ago, for our client ES&B Welding & Cutting Equipment. A campaign, by the way, that we submitted to Advertising Age immediately after completion. Alas, timing remains everything.

Bob Warren

Senior VP-creative director

Sawyer Riley Compton

Atlanta

Corrections

In "Starbucks readies supermarket invasion" (June 9, P. 1), Howard Schultz is chairman-CEO of Starbucks Coffee Co. Also, Starbucks' new supermarket products will include six blends with what the company calls "a distinct flavor profile," but will not include coffees with artificial flavoring.

In Comings & Goings (June 9, P. 32), it was Reggie Fils-Aime who was appointed VP-marketing for Guinness Import Co.

In the TV's Upfront Special Report (May 12, P. S-24), the name of the show "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict" was incorrectly given. Its executive producers are Seaton McLean, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, David Kirschner and Rick Okie.

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