LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Re: Advertising Age's "Voted & Quoted" poll question "Has the cost of a spot in the Super Bowl become inflated beyond its value to an advertiser?" (AA, Jan. 20).

Each year ad recall and likability and other measures for Super Bowl advertisers vary widely. So why the debate? Haven't the sales effect/ROI media-mix modelers figured this one out yet?

Maybe it's because the biggest variable in the mix isn't the audience demographics or the CPMs. It's the creative.

Recently, Ad Age and Intermedia Advertising Group released their year-end "Top Spots" for TV ad recall (AA, Dec. 30). As with the Super Bowl, the report provided evidence that recall and likability (also measured by IAG) vary widely. The IAG methodology does not, however, preclude the influence of overall media schedule weight (GRPs) on the recall scores. At Marc USA, we analyzed the overall national TV/cable schedule weight of the best-recalled new spots as tracked by IAG and reported in Ad Age throughout 2002. We found a wide range of GRP levels-100 to 200 or less targeted GRPs a week to 500 to 700 GRPs or more over two weeks. We found no direct relationship between GRP levels and recall scores. Could it be the creative?

Other results from the 2002 yearend "Top Spots" report are interesting, to say the least. An extraordinarily long three-minute spot for Ford placed eighth with a 232 index against the average of all creative executions. One can't ask for much better-except that seven spots did do better, and they were :30s (one was even a :15). Could it be that a good creative message overcomes media weight and message length?

Any attempt at sales-effect modeling must take into consideration the quantifiable definition of the influence of creative on ad recall, and the influence of awareness and recall on sales. The task may be too daunting for even relevant post-campaign evaluation let alone predictive modeling.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were predicted to go to the Super Bowl. Because the game is played on the field and not in the papers, they fell short. If we could predict the recall, likability and sales effect of Super Bowl advertising, where would the fun be of the pre-game hype and Monday morning analysis?

John Harpur

Senior VP

Corporate Media Development

Marc USA

Pittsburgh

`Visionary' Steve Case was wrong about Net

There are probably many others like me that bought a computer and joined the wired generation because of Prodigy, CompuServ or America Online. Each succumbed to a New Information Age that each helped bring about. Prodigy and CompuServ are gone. Steve Case is now gone, and AOL can't be far behind.

I'm struck by the coverage of Case's departure. He's been portrayed in The New York Times as "an archetypal Internet visionary, famous for his grand notions of how the infant online media would change the world." Case, obviously a smart man, wasn't an Internet visionary. Ultimately, that's why AOL, and others, have struggled and will continue to struggle.

His vision was largely incompatible with the Internet. He had a sense of a digital community, but it would be his community. The Internet is much more independent than that. It is fanatically independent and is driven from the end-user backwards.

The New Information Age, and the Internet, is about a transfer of control from the media oligarchies to the independent proprietors. If you understand that, then it's clear why most of the Internet companies that modeled their online businesses (and ambitions) on the smokestack-type media factories of old have been punished.

Jarvis Coffin

President-CEO

Burst! Media

Burlington Mass.

Thanks for Garfield's Miller Lite AdReview

Thanks for Bob Garfield's AdReview on the Miller Lite abomination, especially the final line about "exculpatory evidence" ("Miller Lite's latest is a return to the bad old days of beer ads," AA, Jan. 20).

Having worked for an agency with a beer account, I know the frustration of being viewed as a woman first and an account planner second. My sympathies to the women at Miller's agency.

Mariann McCormick

Philadelphia

Why rap Miller Lite ad and not Coors Light?

If Bob Garfield is going to hammer the Miller Lite "Catfight" ad for the "poor judgement" of the execs that came up with it ("Miller Lite's latest is a return to the bad old days of beer ads," AdReview, AA, Jan. 20), please add to the list the Coors Light commercials. They have women in bikinis rolling around in snow, twins (with suggestive ideas) and the likes, as well. I found the Miller Lite ad funny, and so did my fiancee.

Michael Milnes

Westmont, N.J.

Nothing wrong with rewarding male viewer

Bob Garfield is a minority in the "What guys really want to see on TV" club ("Miller Lite's latest is a return to the bad old days of beer ads," AA, Jan. 20). What's wrong with rewarding a male viewer for sitting through a 30-second spot without wanting to use our best friend-the remote control-to change the channel?

Charles Cooper

Indianapolis

Corrections

* In "FYI" (The Week, Jan. 27, P. 10), it was incorrectly reported that brand and corporate identity strategist Lippincott & Margulies and sibling firm Mercer Management Consulting had merged to form Lippincott Mercer. There was no merger. While Lippincott & Margulies changed its name to Lippincott Mercer, it continues as a sibling company to Mercer Management Consulting.

* In "Direct response getting respect" [Jan. 20, P. 4], a Procter & Gamble Co. spokeswoman incorrectly identified Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, as the agency that handled the direct-response TV ad for P&G's Dryel. Red, Cincinnati, handled the ad.

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