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Letters, May 11, 2009

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Diversity efforts need to aim younger

Dan Wieden's swerve to talk diversity instead of his planned presentation at the Four A's Leadership Conference took the audience by surprise. It was a good surprise. And it was a challenge we all needed to hear. Like Dan, I have not frequented the annual conference, although not for the same reasons. I was glad that I took the time and funds to attend the conference this year.

I was heartened to realize, that, like Dan Wieden, I am with an organization that is making strides on diversity in our industry.

For the past 13 years, the Boston Ad Club has recognized workplace diversity via the Rosoff Awards. This year we upped the ante. Partnering with corporations and universities, we gave $100,000 worth of scholarships to Boston high-school students. We don't just write a check and send them on their way. By capturing their interest in advertising at a young age (high school vs. college) and assigning them a mentor in the industry to keep them on track, we are working to cultivate diversity. Marketing mentors from agencies and the client side will check in throughout a scholarship recipient's college career to help him navigate the world of internships and, hopefully, the first job of many in our field.

While attendance is down at many industry events because of the economy, we had double the attendance at this year's Rosoff Awards. We also have a commitment from a major corporation to help fund our effort and implement a training program.

As Arnold Rosoff (the founder of Arnold) said at the Rosoff Awards this year to Kathy Kiely (president of the Ad Club) -- and I'm paraphrasing -- it is too bad that we still need to do this.

But we do.

Andrew Graff
Chairman, Ad Club of Boston
CEO, Allen & Gerritsen


Another dot-com disaster strikes

Did American business commit suicide? A few nights ago (sitting in my easy chair) I (and I'm sure many others) spent two hours reading some very interesting articles in Vanity Fair.

Would I (or anyone else) spend two hours staring at a computer screen? NO! All of this abandoning print media in a lemming dash to the internet, I believe, led to decreased sales.

A great magazine, Portfolio, has tragically ceased publication. The excellent writing in that magazine attracted an audience that could buy the advertised products. If they had been advertised.

The New Yorker goes to about a million homes with well-educated and affluent readers. For advertisers to ignore that is folly indeed.

There are those who say, "I don't have to advertise, I have a website." Well, how does anyone know your website exists?

About 10 years ago, the dot-com disaster trashed the stock market. It has happened again.

Armond Noble
Publisher
International Travel News
Sacramento, Calif.


Agencies shouldn't wait on marketers

RE: "Coke Pushes Pay-for-Performance Model" (AA, April 27). I'm a strong advocate for value-based compensation models, incorporating them into my agency's client contracts. Compensation should be based on the contribution an agency makes to grow its client's business, not on time sheet logs. Does anyone care how many hours an artist works on a painting? It's about the end result.

But, for the model to be successful on both sides of the table, a few things must happen: The client and agency must work together to assign value to the work and identify measurements of success. While the old compensation model certainly didn't work, I don't agree with a model that gives the client complete control over the definition of value.

There must be complete transparency between client and agency. Without an open and trusting environment, there's no chance of success.

The agency and client must dedicate senior leadership to making a value-based program work. There is already far too much margin compression in the industry due to wasted time, lack of clear direction, and little or no understanding of success drivers, among other things. We're no longer working against a "think and do" model, but rather a "do and do over" model.

In the end, agencies have to do a better job of moving the industry in this direction -- we shouldn't be waiting for clients to mandate it.

Michael Brunner
CEO
Brunner
Pittsburgh


CORRECTIONS

  • RE: "Room for Improvement in Post's Nonimprovement Ad" (AA, April 27). Ogilvy, New York, created the Shredded Wheat ad.


  • RE: "Can Book-Sales Clubs Make It Through 21st Century" (AA, May 4). The story indicated that Direct Brands had launched 20 new sites. It has relaunched 20 sites. Also, yourmusic.com is accepting new members.
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