It's too quiet on the Western front of marketing
There's no case study to guide us after the Sept. 11 attacks, no proven set of rules to show that, sooner or later, consumers are going to start consuming again. It's up to marketing, advertising and communications professionals to use fresh thinking to overcome this unique challenge.
Corporate flag-waving is OK as far as it goes, but reminding people about the tragedy will likely get them out of a buying mood. Additionally, patriotism and brand building are not necessarily compatible when it comes to motivating consumers. Price reductions, on the other hand, are only temporary fixes and can't be depended upon to turn things around.
So what's it going to take to get the marketing machinery moving? People want to feel good again! Indicating how your products and services will help them feel good is the most important concept to communicate. Brands that demonstrate that they understand the new feelings and attitudes of traumatized consumers, without reminding them of their fears, will build strong relationships with them.
But wary consumers are not likely to buy unless they believe they have permission to buy. Appealing to a sense of community, family and friends, coupled with an underlying promise of well-being, will go a long way.
We must stop talking about how bad things are. This is simply a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's time to move forward and start making some noise on the Western front of marketing.
Donald L. Potter
Potter, Katz, Postal & Ferguson
North Hollywood, Calif.
Thanks for Scott Donaton's great column, "Forget sounding death knell for irony; it's too soon to tell" (Viewpoint, AA, Oct. 1). As an ad salesman for a small New York/New Jersey entertainment mag (Steppin' Out Magazine), I was glad to read a positive take on the future of humor and irony in advertising. We, as a publication, have not been too hard hit (as of yet) from the tragic events in New York, but the air has been real thick and strange as to what the future holds. Reading a piece like his is encouraging and, most importantly, realistic. Death to pessimistic blanket statements!
Let flag ads wave
I'm a little younger than World War II veteran Barry McCabe ("Flag down flag ads," Letters to the Editor, AA, Oct. 15) and I'm all in favor of some flag waving. It's about time! My military service was as a U.S. Air Force information officer during the Vietnam era ('65-'73), mostly assigned to Strategic Air Command B-52 units, stateside and on Guam.
We all know there is a "flag etiquette," but rather than squelch the spirit of the country perhaps it is time to rewrite the etiquette book.
George R. MacKay
VP-Director of Strategic Services
Smart Tempo ads
Hooray for Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tempo dry wipes! Hooray to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles for creating a great spot! And hooray to Bob Garfield for his Ad Review ("P&G Tempo spot-get this-features product's benefits," AA, Oct. 1)!
The Tempo spot almost looks like one of those "fake" spots that are interrupted by the Energizer Bunny. Of course, Bob is right. What sets them apart is that they feature the benefits. What a novel idea.
Will DMB&B take a Gold Lion for Tempo? Or will it just help its client sell tons and tons of product? I know which I'd prefer.
I never have, and never will be, a Toyota fan. At the same time, I have never been more amazed at how childish Bob Garfield's review of the Celica ads is ("Toyota touts an ugly Celica in compact spots that hum," Ad Review, AA, Sept. 3). We get it. He doesn't like the way they look. But to repeatedly point it out by saying things like "puke-spewingly unsightly parked car"? Save that for the playground.
VP-Media and Research
Santa Monica, Calif.
* The Oct. 15 issue of Advertising Age was incorrectly identified as Vol. 72, No. 43 (Oct. 15, P. 2). It was Vol. 72, No. 42.
* In "Landmarks" (Oct. 15, P. 50), the U.S. Navy ad depicted was produced by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., not by Interpublic agency Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, as reported.
* In "Online media consolidating" (Oct. 8, P. 56), Interep Interactive is partnering with Hong Kong-based Mezzo Marketing but is not acquiring the company. The story said Mezzo had been acquired by Interep Interactive, a unit of radio rep firm Interep. Interep Interactive will rep Mezzo's Asian sites to U.S. advertisers and Mezzo will rep Interep Interactive client sites to its Asian clients.