In a world where parents and teens alike are bombarded with marketing and advertising, it makes sense to refrain from spreading ourselves too thinly. And unlike Mountain Dew and Dodge, we're not trying to build brand loyalty; nor are we trying to compete with sophisticated marketing campaigns for ecstasy, heroin and other drugs. We simply want to make teens aware that drugs are risky and can derail lives. We want that message in the back of their minds the next time they're faced with the decision to try a drug or not.
Mr. Crain insists the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is the Partnership's client. I differ. ONDCP and the campaign are vehicles for reaching our true clients-parents and teens.
Partnership for a Drug-Free California
Mountain View, Calif.
Integrated marketing in the war on drugs
I was glad to read of Rance Crain's support of integrated marketing ("Role of integrated marketing central to drug campaign flap," Viewpoint, AA, Sept. 9). I'm concerned, however, with his definition of integrated marketing as "the process of reaching target audiences with a variety of marketing techniques." If this is the strategy the anti-drug abuse folks are taking, it's no wonder they're having problems.
Integrated marketing, or integrated marketing communications (IMC), as we call it, should be more strategic than simply using a variety of marketing communication techniques. As we tell our consulting clients and teach IMC in the University of Colorado's IMC graduate program, IMC is a process of cross-functional planning, implementation and monitoring of a strategically consistent brand message. The marketing communication and media mixes used to package and deliver these strategically consistent messages are driven by a SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis.
When we find that awareness or positioning is a problem, for example, we increase media advertising. However, when we find messages are being received but not believed, this says we have a credibility problem. Then PR becomes a much greater portion of the marketing communication mix. The same goes for sales promotion: When there is awareness and claim acceptance but little response, we know we must add value to the message offered to motivate a change in behavior.
In efforts to maximize the number of target touch points, companies and agencies often lose sight of the message format (e.g., advertising, PR, sales promotion) and how that message is delivered. Rance mentioned that Safeway grocery bags and milk cartons are being used to deliver tips to parents, and that companies were providing anti-drug abuse information through their human resources departments. While these are certainly ways to increase message exposure, are these message sources the ones that are the most credibile to teens?
It was good to read that 800-numbers are being supplied and that Web sites have been set up. My only concern here is that these not only invite teens to respond but promise a dialogue.
Do these phone lines and Web sites have the back-end support to provide knowledgeable and personal responses? For six years we have mystery-shopped 800-numbers and Web sites and have found that less than 50% of the contacts resulted in responses that could be rated "good."
IMC Graduate Program
University of Colorado
New retail institute fully supports RAMA
"New retail marketing group takes on trade association" (AA, Sept. 16). The headline does not reflect the true position of the Retail Marketing Institute and the article missed some important points. What was missing was that we completely support the efforts of Retail Advertising & Marketing Association and the Retail Advertising Conference and strongly encourage everyone in the industry to do so as well.
Also missing was the distinction between the two events. The institute's Retail Marketing Forum is designed to bring together a small group of senior level executives to discuss some of the critical issues in retail marketing and advertising. The annual RAC is the giant get-together for the industry. Our feeling is the RAC is the industry event, and everyone in the industry should have it on their calendar. Also missing from the article was the fact that we purposely priced our sponsorship fee at a level to not interfere with the RAC.
Douglas E. Raymond
Founder & CEO
Retail Marketing Institute
The anti-car message in Saturn's `Anthem'
Is it just me or does that "Anthem" TV spot for Saturn, with robotic humans walking around a city, end up being a visual feast of anti-car glory, and the greatest pro-walking/biking message in years? People just standing in a parking lot, not interacting, people running on the interstate at night not looking at or talking to each other? This shows how, when driving a car, we are in metal cages, with no real connection to other humans-unlike the exposed, open, friendlier environment that mass transit, bicycling and walking provide.
Obviously, there must have been a lot of ways to say Saturn cares more about people than sheet metal, but this execution, though eerily beautiful, is hitting me and some others in a surprisingly counter-car culture way.
9 .0 2 experiment