While it is true Coke has grown so ubiquitous that it is now a marketing medium in its own right, the same is just as true of Wal-Mart, whose stores attract 100 million Americans each week. As far as I know, there is not a single TV show, CD or movie that can match that kind of reach and frequency.
The crossroads of content and commerce clearly is at retail, not only Wal-Mart but every other channel of retail. Shopper marketing has rapidly gained equal status with consumer marketing. Yet few who reside at Madison and Vine seem to understand the importance of marketing to shoppers, of creating at retail the same kind of emotional connection that can build brands and sales simultaneously. Mr. Heyer himself did not make a single reference to the role of retail in his otherwise brilliant speech.
Mel R. Korn
Collaborative Marketing Worldwide
Coke's Heyer overlooks business-culture gaps
Steven Heyer's Madison + Vine conference speech has the resonance of many speeches I've heard during my career in advertising that call for some new concept without relating it to a current reality. Like the notion of convergence, whatever that is. ... The difference in the three cultures-show business, corporate behavior and advertising-is so huge and so ingrained as to make what Heyer proposes impossible. He says he is from all three worlds but I think he understands none.
Heyer focusing on the wrong `partners'
Steven Heyer forgot to recognize why the change is actually happening. [He] didn't understand how to explain it because he is too caught up in marketing/advertising and not in touch with how popular culture can actually affect a trend (which is what he thinks Coke is accomplishing). Coke's partners are not advertising agencies, movie studios or record labels. [Its] partners are its consumers.
Coke idea threatens artistic integrity
Steven Heyer's "manifesto," stripped of its New Age gobbledygook, seems nothing more than a strategy for more product placement. This kind of thinking further corrupts the artistic integrity of the talented people who create our best work in the music, movie and TV arts.
Heyer ideas can drive buyers from marketers
The intersection of Hollywood and Madison Avenue that Steven Heyer calls for will only drive consumers away from marketers' products and messages. Look closer: Consumers are already going to the movies late in order to avoid the movie-theater commercials. And who under 21 still pays for a music CD?
New Canaan, Conn.
Heyer won't budge status quo managers
No doubt Coca-Cola Co. will be approached with powerful and effective ideas that [Steven] Heyer solicited from the [Madison + Vine conference] audience. But in the end his concept won't work because of this reality: Too many people at the top of the involved industries are focused, to borrow a tagline from Ford Motor Co., on the perpetuation of their current infrastructure, income and power as Job 1.
West Hills, Calif.
Self-regulation is part of the diet-ad solution
Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Sheila Anthony wrote in "Let's clean up the diet-ad mess" (Viewpoint, AA, Feb. 3) that unsupportable claims continue to be made promising substantial weight loss without diet or exercise. We can attest to that; we have handled some of those claims in our National Advertising Division review process.
Commissioner Anthony noted self-regulation is important, and would like to involve the media in a self-regulation system that might include the NAD or be an adjunct to it under National Advertising Review Council oversight. In a recent speech, FTC Chairman Timothy Muris encouraged NARC involvement by saying that, if the media were to create a limited screening process with NARC, "the FTC would be very supportive."
NARC has been meeting with media associations to help create a solution. Unfortunately, they do not want to cede First Amendment protections and have concerns a system requiring them to police ads would be economically unrealistic and perhaps create a "slippery slope" of media liability for broad categories of advertising.
Both sides make valid points but they are on the same side when they talk about the bond of trust that must be maintained with consumers. I believe that collectively we can create a viable solution. NARC is proof that effective self-regulation ensures the public trust.
* In "Philip Morris Cos. morphs into Altria" (The Week, Feb. 3, P. 12), it was wrongly said that Marlboro Blend No. 27 will be priced at a discount to Marlboro. It will be priced at parity to Marlboro.