LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

The news about the ad program at the University of Colorado is much more positive than Rance Crain has suggested ("Academic wishful thinking may be end of IMC program," Viewpoint, AA, Oct. 7).

It is true the school's IMC [integrated marketing communications] master's [degree] track was recently eliminated. But that will have no negative impact on the undergraduate advertising sequence. In fact, it will enable the school to strengthen that sequence by grounding it more firmly in consumer insight and also allow it to develop a new graduate program that will be very much in keeping with what is being done at the undergraduate level.

I believe our school has one of the country's strongest undergraduate advertising programs. Our graduates have taken positions at some of America's top agencies. For the past three years, students in our creative track have won major awards in student competitions sponsored by New York's One Club. This program will continue in its present form. But it will benefit from a much closer connection to a more robust strategic track.

The enhanced strategic program currently being developed will be highly focused, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, on questions of consumer motivation and brand development. Students will have more opportunities to conduct consumer research, develop target insights and turn those insights into strategic briefs. Developing and presenting such briefs to those in the creative track will model actual business practice. But that won't just be of value to those in the strategic track. It will also benefit the creative students because working from stronger strategies will help them develop advertising that is more honest, insightful and effective.

So the changes we are making allow us to give all of our students a deeper understanding of consumers and brands. That will enable us to produce students even better prepared for the challenges they will face upon graduation.

Brett Robbs

Associate Professor

Head, Advertising Sequence

School of Journalism and Mass Communication

University of Colorado

Boulder, Colo.

Academics don't like advertising

Very interesting Rance Crain column about what's going on at the University of Colorado ("Academic wishful thinking may be end of IMC program," Viewpoint, AA, Oct. 7). At least it's finally out in the open: Most academics in these so-called schools of communication don't like advertising and don't think it should be taught-except as a debased art form or a vehicle for social criticism.

Tom Duncan [director of Colorado's integrated marketing communications master's degree program] is partly right as well: Most of these academics have never held a real job let alone worked in a competitive field such as advertising. The very statement [that] advertising "exists in an unregulated market where it is regarded by some as constituting the heart of the crisis of American media" shows they are completely unaware of the realities of advertising in this country.

Bill Huey

Strategic Communications

Atlanta

ANA meeting program high quality: Sarsen

It's difficult in these economic times for marketing executives to attend industry conferences. But those who did come to Naples, Fla., for the 2002 Association of National Advertisers annual conference ("Delegates at ANA vow to spend more," AA, Oct. 14) were rewarded with a program that addressed, head-on, the needs of brand marketers in these tough economic times. Everyone applauded the high-quality content. Here are some highlights.

Charles B. Strauss, president and CEO of Unilever U.S., explained his company's strategy of focusing more resources on fewer brands. He also underscored the dangers of letting "rank amateurs" manage those brands.

Thomas G. Stemberg, founder and chairman of Staples, detailed his "Back to Brighton" program, a sweeping brand makeover intended to reinvigorate the values introduced in the firm's first Brighton, Mass., store.

Douglas R. Conant, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co., shared details of his transformation plan that includes a renewed commitment to product quality and research and development.

Rick Kash, managing partner of Cambridge Group, underscored the importance of "the context" in which consumers make decisions and form lifetime brand loyalties.

Jamie Kellner, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, pointed out ways that marketers could take advantage of media fragmentation.

Donny Deutsch, chairman and chief operating officer of Deutsch, shared his "15 rules" for marketers. Amidst his humor were truths that every advertiser-and agency-should heed.

Senators Bob Graham and Fred Thompson concluded the conference with a sobering discussion of U.S. security-at home and abroad.

We are gratified that more than 300 people came to Naples for the 2002 ANA conference, and we thank and salute our exceptional speakers for providing our members and guests with an invaluable business experience.

John J. Sarsen Jr.

President-CEO

Association of National Advertisers

New York

White House ads pick wrong target

In his AdReview column "Drug office spots show victims of so-called victimless crime" (AA, Sept. 16) Bob Garfield was able to correctly tie methamphetamine and opium to violence but not marijuana.

This is the main problem with the latest ads from the White House [Office of National Drug Control Policy]. Methamphetamine is a growing problem in this country. This year Afghanistan had its largest poppy crop in history. These drugs and their derivatives can have devastating consequences, and have been tied to violence and terrorism. Despite that, the White House feels it's more important to demonize a drug that the public has a more favorable view of: marijuana.

I predict this ad campaign will fail due to its creators' misplaced priorities.

Jason Marrs

Ossining, N.Y.

Mr. Marrs is a marketing-communications specialist for a health-care agency.

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