LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Re: "Pharmaceuticals: DTC's still hot, but government scrutiny could cool growth" (2003 Outlook, AA, Jan. 6). Direct-to-consumer marketers can grow business and build key political allies by paying more attention to the needs of multicultural consumers.

A pillar of the industry's rationale for continued DTC advertising is that, by raising awareness of various indications, consumers are more likely to seek earlier medical intervention. Many analysts have pointed out earlier treatment ultimately lowers the overall cost of disease to the health-care system and economy.

Unfortunately, this reasonable argument is undermined by the anemic percentage of DTC advertising resources devoted to educating those most afflicted with America's costliest chronic illnesses-the 80 million Americans who make up the multicultural marketplace. These consumers, the vast majority of whom have the income and healthcare coverage to afford the latest blockbuster drugs, make up 30% of the nation's population and are, in fact, the majority of all consumers in every top Nielsen Designated Market Area.

However, due to the varying cultural and linguistic characteristics, many of these ideal consumers are missed by the high-frequency DTC campaigns that almost exclusively focus on affluent non-Hispanic white populations. Diverting a larger percentage of these "mainstream" DTC resources to multicultural advertising will have positive effects on business and on the public's perceptions of the industry. First, it will increase the overall efficiency of media spend by reaching a larger concentration of disease sufferers. Second, it will help the industry to build powerful allies in Washington.

Larry Moskowitz

VP Strategic Marketing Services

Kang & Lee Advertising

New York

How agency-client pairings can succeed

I would like to add some concrete numbers from our "2002 Salz Survey of Advertiser-Agency Relations" to the comments made by Donny Deutsch at the Association of National Advertisers annual meeting ("Donny Deutsch rips ad agencies at conference," AdAge.com QwikFIND aao10f). They reveal just how important the advertiser-agency relationship is to everyone's bottom line.

In this year's annual survey, conducted among the nation's top 200 advertisers and 100 agencies:

* The advertisers predicted an increase in sales of 20% if they could consistently obtain their agency's best work.

* These advertisers also estimated a 19% savings in their creative development costs if they could work more productively with their agencies.

* The agencies concurred, and they estimated even higher savings of 22%.

When developing advertising, both advertisers and agencies agree that creative strategy is the major reason that multiple rounds of revisions are needed. Half of the advertisers surveyed attribute the needed revisions to the advertising not being "on strategy." And half of the agencies say that the strategy is "not clear." Notice the pattern.

When asked why they obtain or create high-quality advertising, both advertisers and agencies rank having a large advertising budget and agency profit near the bottom of a list of factors. Those factors that rank the highest are the standards advertisers set for their agencies' work; the skills of the people-both advertiser and agency; good communication; good teamwork; a limited number of advertiser approval levels; and agency people liking to work on the business.

This is clear direction to work hard to develop productive relationships-not only to create sales-driving advertising, but also to do so without the time-wasting, wheel-spinning aggravations that soak up money and do nothing for a brand.

Nancy L. Salz

Nancy L. Salz Consulting and Seminars

New York

When flyer is upset, Southwest is smart

Rance Crain's column about United Airlines ("United, McDonald's lacking friendly skies, fast food," Viewpoint, AA, Dec. 16) can be echoed about one of the successful "no-frills" airlines as well. First to board a Southwest Airlines flight, I was stunned to find Southwest employees and pilots pre-seated in the planes desirable exit-row seats-for which I stood in line for an extra hour. When I asked these employees why they were in seats prized by paying customers, I received an arrogant, tough "I don't care about you" type of response.

The one difference between Southwest and United: Southwest's president of customer service's office apologized, stating that such behavior by employees, including pilots, was unacceptable, and that they should have offered to move immediately. They also sent two free tickets for future use to offset my negative experience.

Eli Portnoy

Chief Brand Strategist

The Portnoy Group

Orlando

Cabin safety rules can't be ignored

I agree with everything in Rance Crain's United Airlines-McDonald's column ("United, McDonald's lacking friendly skies, fast food," Viewpoint, AA, Dec. 16) with one exception. That is the time his son-in-law got up to fetch the kids' bottles after the plane was in motion (a dangerous time to be moving about). As a frequent traveler, I understand why the airlines need to be so vehement at this time of departure. I've seen people do some stupid things once they are allowed to leave their seat for any reason while the plane is in motion. Next time, I suggest his son-in-law be more prepared for these things by having the bottles more readily at hand. I see other couples do it all the time.

Gerald M. O'Grady

VP High Tech Medical Park

Palos Heights, Ill.

Correction

* In the table "Super Bowl XXXVII advertisers" (Jan. 13, P. 50), Y&R Advertising was incorrectly listed as the agency for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 2. TBWA/Chiat /Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., is the PlayStation 2 agency.

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