Shame on Sean Fitzpatrick's elitism and broad-brush condemnation of local advertising in "Let's brand good ads" (Letters to the Editor, AA, Feb. 25).
How dare he presume that my clients, who include "carpet merchants, car dealers and retailers, lawyers [and] your wannabe politicians," present any less than truthful, ethical or effective advertising messages? By what presumed authority does he propose that only signed and sealed members of national advertising associations would qualify for his "stamp of approval"?
Can you imagine what this sort of program would do to the already tarnished image of the ad industry?
Those of us (and there are many) who provide quality, above-board local advertising for our clients (not to mention those ethical and honest businesses that advertise legitimately on their own) would be viewed with even more skepticism than we already are. And simply because we do not carry the almighty "brand" of honesty. In our society, the burden of proof is on those who accuse wrongdoers, not on those who do right.
"Good" ads don't need branding. Good ads speak for themselves with the cheerful ka-ching of the cash register. And deceptive or misleading advertisers are already subject to an array of watchdogs, from the various states' attorneys general to the industry's own self-regulators.
It is sad that Fitzpatrick feels so cynical about his profession; one can only presume that he passes his misgivings on to his [college] students. As for my agency, for which, incidentally, profits and sales are up, I will not change its name to "Lying, Screaming and Bullshitting." We, and our many colleagues, will continue to produce quality, truthful, tactically correct and effective advertising. And we will be damned proud of our profession.
Steven J. Fradkin
The Wizard of Adz
Many promote IMC but don't grasp it
As a graduate of one of the few academic programs devoted to integrated marketing (Northwestern University's Integrated Marketing Communications program), it is no surprise to see the IMC debate rekindled ("How to play the game," AA, Jan. 28).
Over the last 10 years, agencies have struggled with integrated marketing because many have adopted it as a purely organizational or operational approach. Preoccupied with trying to increase revenue streams from areas deemed "marketing services," neither holding companies nor their agencies ever understood IMC as a philosophy or discipline. But it didn't stop them from trying to sell it.
Publicis Groupe Chairman Maurice Levy understands that weak integration is advertising-driven and other disciplines are often involved solely at the execution stage. He has imbued Publicis with La Holistic Difference, a method which ensures that all disciplines are combined from the beginning of the process, avoiding the fragmented model we're used to seeing as the end product of poor integration. To put it simply, the brand communication is born of the whole.
IMC is based on one very important idea: The consumer comes first. That means creating a dialogue and listening to what they have to say. Unfortunately, over the last several years agencies have been doing all of the talking.
Publicis in MidAmerica
Media convergence is more myth than reality
Randall Rothenberg's column "Convergence likely to render restriction of liquor ads futile" (Viewpoint, AA, Feb. 18) repeats the convergence myth that has fascinated the media industry for the past two decades.
Has any mass communications medium ever converged in this history of the human race? I think not.
Radio did not converge; it diverged. So today we have AM radio, FM radio and satellite radio. And more to come.
TV did not converge; it diverged. So today we have broadcast TV, cable TV, pay TV and satellite TV. And more to come.
So, too, with every other high-tech device.
The computer did not converge; it diverged. So today we have mainframe computers, mid-range computers, personal computers, laptop computers, servers and hand-held computers. And more to come.
The telephone did not converge; it diverged. So today we have regular telephones, cordless telephones and cell phones. And more to come.
The nice thing about predicting "convergence" is that you are never proven wrong. Convergence is something that's always going to happen some time in the future.
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for my Picturephone.
Ries & Ries
Regarding the Super Bowl Ad Review ("Britney Bowl," AA, Feb. 4): Four stars to Pepsi/Britney? Bob Garfield's kidding, right? It was nice, but not super. I'm sure his review has the blessings of countless teeny boppers. I say three stars-max.
Director of Marketing
* In "Late `01 was `weird' for mag circulation" (Feb. 25, P. 12), the 15.2% circulation decline for AARP's Modern Maturity in the six months ended Dec. 31 stems from the transfer of 3.1 million in circulation to sibling AARP magazine My Generation.
* In "Humble Try" (Feb. 18, P. 3), MasterCard, not Visa International, is among the marketers Procter & Gamble Co. Global Marketing Officer Jim Stengel has invited to training workshops for P&G marketing executives.