Teenagers are looking for authenticity in everything from friendships to fashion to sneakers to soft drinks. Always a cynical group, they are more incredulous today than ever. It is true that teenagers don't see Pepsi as a knockoff. This is because Coke hasn't reminded them. For the last 30 years, Coca-Cola has taken one of its most important strategic assets for granted.
Is it important that your soft drink be the real thing? When you suggest to teens in focus groups, especially the boys, that their cola might not be authentic, they become outraged. Of course it's important that our brands be real. They are an extension of ourselves.
Intrinsics are important as well, and teenagers draw the subtlest distinctions between soft drinks on the basis of taste, bubbly-ness, sweetness, caffeine content and appropriateness with different foods and occasions. But it is the extrinsic brand attributes, like authenticity, that create the emotional connections with the target audience, and ultimately drive purchases. Coca-Cola is doing the right thing.
Brian Moore Consulting
Long Beach, New York
Garfield on the mark about Coke `Real' ads
Bob Garfield's Ad Review [on Coca-Cola's new campaign] was on the mark ("Misguided nostalgia obscures what's really `real' about Coke", AA, Jan. 13) Well done. His conclusions mirror ours.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Garfield missed point; Argos ads a success
Bob Garfield missed the point on the Argos ad that he reviewed ("Argos spot not exactly ab fab," The World, AA, Jan. 13). The idea that Argos could get away with decorating a millionaire's apartment is about as likely to the U.K. viewer as, say, Kmart doing the same in the U.S. That's why the "pay-off gag" is funny. Since the campaign broke, sales are up 14%, it's acceptable to be seen with an Argos bag, "Argoos" has entered the language and rivals Dixons are said to be changing their approach to advertising after losing chunks of market share to Argos.
The ad he called "sloppy" has changed the retail environment. We don't expect people to know about Argos in the U.S. How about just those writing articles about it?
Euro RSCG WNEK Gosper
Messrs. Gettins and Caporn are creative directors on the Argos account.
Half-baked forecasts of advertising's `fall'
Hats off to [American Association of Advertising Agencies President-CEO] O. Burtch Drake for his Viewpoint column rebutting the alleged "fall of advertising " (`"Fall' of advertising? I differ", AA, Jan. 13). He correctly labels the assertions offered by Ries & Ries as "ludicrous." I, for one, care a lot more about a client's evaluation of advertising's worth than I care about the half-baked opinions of a self-serving author.
Ries took issue with the effectiveness of the "Whassup?!" campaign [from DDB Worldwide]. Anheuser-Busch thinks it was one of the most successful campaigns they've ever run. It not only helped the whole Bud family increase market share, it increased Budweiser's share of its segment by making the brand younger, hipper and more contemporary-a brand for every culture. Of course, public relations played a part in the campaign's success. But only after advertising created a brushfire of popularity.
Drake's ad defense misses big picture
Let's take issue with O. Burtch Drake's comment that "advertising continues to remain the single most vital component of almost any marketing plan" (`"Fall' of advertising? I differ", AA, Jan. 13). I'm going to use his word: ludicrous. How about segmentation, targeting, pricing and distribution as more vital components? ... I feel [Mr. Drake] needs to see the bigger picture. While I do not feel the books [by Al and Laura Ries and by Sergia Zyman] are the "Fall" or "End" of much, were Mr. Drake's insights that great or insightful? Really?
Larry Steven Londre
Londre Marketing Consultants
Support for Drake on `fall' of advertising
Re: "`Fall' of advertising? I differ" (AA, Jan. 13). After reading "The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR" by Al and Laura Ries, I was a bit taken back. Many of the book's points were well taken and I certainly agree with them. However, the book was extremely self-serving. O. Burtch Drake is right on with everything in his article.
Lehigh Valley Velodrome
* In "Weatherbug rolls `on demand' ads" (Jan. 20, P. 8), it was wrongly said that the ad-free Weatherbug version costs $19.95 a month. It costs $19.95 a year. The story quoted Jupiter Research analyst Gary Stein saying Weatherbug was the only one doing outside-the-browser Internet advertising. Mr. Stein clarified that many do it; Weatherbug is the first to swap sponsors in and out at this level.
* In "Beauty pageant hits retail" (Jan. 20, P. 28), Suzanne Grimes was misidentified as VP-publisher, Conde Nast Publications' Self. She is VP-publisher, Conde Nast's Glamour.
* In "Boston Market ads make dinner a focus" (Jan. 20, P. 34), Boston Market's Trey Hall was misidentified as VP-marketing. He is senior VP-chief marketing officer.