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USPS wants reform

As Ad Age's editorial "Postal pact hurts, but is right move" (Viewpoint, AA, Jan. 14) correctly notes, the law that established the Postal Service in 1971 is in desperate need of an overhaul. This is especially true in light of the ongoing financial challenges the Postal Service faces.

Current law provides few opportunities for the Postal Service to deal with revenue shortfalls, while offering it only limited authority and control over its prices, products, services and employee wages. Nevertheless, the Postal Service has taken decisive action.

We have attacked our financial challenges by eliminating more than $1 billion from our capital commitment budget, reducing our workforce and initiating ways to consolidate operations and reduce expenses. But cost cutting and rate increases within the regulatory framework are not enough to keep pace with today's market dynamics.

To answer these challenges, the Postal Service is developing a plan for this organization's future and, in turn, for the future of the mailing industry. That plan is in progress, and we expect to submit an initial document to Congress in March.

Most of the modern industrial-ized nations have already restruc-tured their postal systems. The U.S. Postal Service delivers 40% of the world's mail, yet America lags far behind in postal reform. Foreign postal administrations are reorgan-izing to protect their universal service and keep their rates afford-able. Without vigorous postal re-form in the United States, this country faces increased pressure on the economic foundation for uni-versal service at affordable prices.

The future of mail service in the U.S. is at stake.

Azeezaly S. Jafer

VP-public affairs and communications

U.S. Postal Service


Results answer criticism of change to Accenture

Rance Crain's column `"Accenture' seemed foolish; now it seems a stroke of luck" (Viewpoint, AA, Jan. 28) omitted a number of key factors which, had they been discussed, would have presented a more balanced point-of-view.

We certainly agree the arbitrator's decision that resulted in chang-ing our name from Andersen Con-sulting to Accenture was fortunate. It certainly eliminated potential confusion with Arthur Andersen during the crisis it faces. But his assertion that the name Accenture is not well known with the general public is inappropriate and ignores the nature of our business.

By early June last year, less than six months after the launch, spontaneous recall by executives regarding Accenture as a provider of management and technology services was 71% of previous Andersen Consulting levels globally and 90% in the U.S.

Our most recent research in December with the same group shows that the awareness of Accenture in most major markets now equals or exceeds that of Andersen Consulting before the name change. We know of no other major company with such a branding success executed in such a limited amount of time.

Even our Super Bowl advertis-ing, which he criticized, did its job quite effectively, in spite of the re-ported poor comparisons in the minds of consumers with beer, auto and other consumer product com-mercials. While constituting just 5% of our global media spend, the ads helped jump-start the Accen-ture brand with our targets in the U.S. Zyman Marketing Group named Accenture the "true adver-tising victor" of the Super Bowl since our ads generated the largest change in stated purchase intent, which is the "only true measure-ment" of effective advertising.

The arbitrator's decision was fortuitous. But the direction to change the name was just the beginning. The dediciation and com-mitment by Accenture manage-ment to how we selected and launched the name with our target audiences made the real difference.

James E. Murphy

Global Managing Director

Marketing and Communications


New York

In defense of Pets.com

Rance Crain makes a nice point about Accenture's bad naming and advertising luck in `"Accenture' seemed foolish; now it seems a stroke of luck" (AA, Jan. 28). But I am confused why he singled out the Pets.com puppet as an example of poor advertising. Consumers knew and still remember Pets.com and what it did; they just didn't want to purchase 10-pound bags of dog food and squeaky toys online. Why blame good advertising for a company's bad business models?

Graham Norwood

Sterling Group

San Francisco

Why were ad greats not on `Times' list?

Re: the Jan. 19 New York Times' list of 100 public "great minds." Not one person that I could detect was from advertising. Maybe they don't think people in our business are public. Or great "thinkers." No Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy or Bill Bernbach, for example. Maybe they didn't have a PhD.

Dick Gerdes

Gerdes & Associates



* In "PM: Last call for magazines" (Feb. 4, Cover), it was incorrectly stated that broadcast cigarette advertising ceased under a voluntary industry ban. The ads were banned in 1971 under provisions of the Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969.

* In "Britney Bowl" (Feb. 4, Cover) and the table "Ad Rankings," Om-nicom Group's BBDO, New York, was incorrectly listed as agency for the Lipton Brisk TV commercial. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, is the Brisk agency.

* In "Account action" (Feb. 4, P. 12), the San Francisco office of In-terpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holl-iday, Connors, Cosmopulos, in-cumbent on the Cisco Systems account, was incorrectly listed as a contender in the Cisco review. The agency is not participating.

* In "Consumer magazine advertising linage for January-December 2001," (Feb. 4, P. 14), the publishing frequency of Out was incorrectly listed as 11 times per year. Out is a monthly.

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