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I'm not as amazed as the ad community seems to be that Procter & Gamble Co. enlisted its purchasing department to procure advertising. I'm amazed it took them so long. ("P&G gives ad power to purchasers," AA, Nov. 4; "New client voice: purchasing exec," AA, Nov. 11)

I've spent the past six years as a management consultant working with Fortune 500 marketing and procurement executives to shave an average 8% off their external advertising expenditures (i.e., agency fees, production cost and media). [And] all with no loss of agency services, impressions [and no] modifications to the media mix. Do the math on 8% at your company.

One does not need an agency background or need to be coded to the marketing function to provide input to the cost-benefit trade-offs between two production, placement or creative alternatives presented by the agency, or to force agencies and ad vendors to compete for a company's business. One just needs good business skills.

Procurement professionals lend quantitative, analytical, negotiation and request-for-proposal administration skills that complement the advertising expertise of marketing (and agency) personnel to create value for the corporation (i.e., buy the same items for less or get more items at the same cost). With all the talk about "marketing return on investment," one would expect to see more marketing executives seek out procurement personnel to help their usually understaffed departments optimize the "investment" part of the equation. ([Marketing executives'] expertise is often better suited for, and usually focused on, the "return" part).

Enlightened marketing executives recognize that procurement department and marketing personnel share the same stock options and retirement plans. They, like P&G, have said goodbye to functional snobbery. They have stopped hugging the trees.

Chuck Hatsis


Surge Consulting


NARC offers aid on diet ad claims

Re: the Federal Trade Commission workshop on deception in weight-loss product advertising (AdAge.com QwikFIND aao22I).

The National Advertising Review Council has developed working relationships in certain media industries and is discussing ways to work with others, in both print and broadcast.

Some choose to screen ads and forward them to NARC's investigative body, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Others prefer advertiser or consumer oversight groups to identify questionable advertising claims for NAD to review. The results of our reviews would provide guidance.

Responsible self-regulation ensures public trust for advertising and protects responsible advertisers. The FTC workshop elicited a virtually unanimous endorsement of the role of the NARC and NAD in working with both industry and media to bring about these ends.

NAD monitors advertising claims for truth and accuracy but does not have the resources to take on the larger [diet ads] challenge without help from the media. We are reaching out for media stakeholders' support.

Jim Guthrie


National Advertising Review Council

New York

Deutsch on target, but client is key

I agree with Deutsch Chairman-CEO Donny Deutsch's exhortation to Association of National Advertisers members about obtaining, or rather demanding, the best work from their agencies ("Donny Deutsch rips ad agencies at conference," AdAge.com QwikFIND aao10f).

But he seemed to underplay the client's role in the process. As a long-time client of more than a dozen agencies in the United States and Europe, I learned that clients often get what they deserve from their agencies, and will usually not fare well unless they take an active, hands-on role in managing the relationship.

The same agency, even the same team at an agency, can produce superior work for one client and disaster for another. Business conditions can sometimes account for the difference, but often it's the client's behavior that explains success or failure. The partnership audits we have conducted on a number of client/agency relationships consistently show that the work improves when client expectations are understood clearly, needed information is communicated effectively and periodic evaluations are conducted candidly. And, of course, long-standing relationships are more efficient for both partners, avoiding frequent returns to the bottom of the learning curve.

Advertising is one of the few things that clients purchase [where] success is directly influenced by the quality of the relationship between buyer and provider.

Clients who recognize this reality and manage their agencies accordingly will get more of the successful work they have every right to demand.

David Hurwitt

Hurwitt Associates

Rowayton, Conn.


* In "Under two roofs," the table of brand reassignments accompanying the story "P&G centers $3.8 billion at Publicis and Grey Global" (Nov. 18, P. 4), Procter & Gamble Co.'s Zest was incorrectly listed as going to Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide. Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide is the new Zest agency.

* In "AOL revamp plan emphasizes subscriptions" (Nov. 18, P. 4), the sub-headline incorrectly referred to a "shift of $35 million to broadband." The "35 million" in the headline referred to the number of subscribers to AOL Time Warner's America Online service, and America Online's plan to transition them to broadband Internet and other subscription services.

* In "Court overrules FTC in diet ad case" (Nov. 18, P. 6), John Hendrickson, a Beverly Hills, Calif., attorney not involved with the Federal Trade Commission case, was incompletely identified as "Mr. Hendrickson."

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