Scott Donaton wonders why new-business reviews seem to be stagnant? ("Rainmakers can't dance away current new-business drought," Viewpoint, AA, July 23.) Here is a hypothesis he might try.
Perhaps marketers today do not see many real and substantial differences among ad agencies. As holding companies buy up anything that moves, perhaps individual agency brands have lost their unique identities. Perhaps the level of work from these agencies has become undistinguished and banal. Perhaps those people running around agencies with foreign accents haven't quite mastered a true understanding of the American market. ...
We now not only talk about being "media neutral"; perhaps we also talk about being "idea neutral." Marketers enthralled by the mechanics of distribution have lost sight of the "big idea," the power of famous advertising to drive results and to fuel all elements of the marketing mix. Perhaps agencies have lost sight of this as well. ...
I don't get it. Why is everyone on the agency side mourning the lack of business and creative reviews? When a company does a review and switches from one agency to another, financially all that happens is that billings are transferred from one agency to another. No "real" new business or "real" new billings are created. It seems that top agencies are merely looking for a redistribution of business and hoping that the new distribution falls in their favor. However, what an agency has to gain it also has to lose.
What you're all missing is that today well-managed companies do not wish to switch agencies just for the sake of switching. Seek to provide justifiable reasons for getting a company's business and show quantifiable add-ed-value to their marketing plans. Your goal shouldn't be to make "rain" for your agency but rather to make rain for your clients and potential clients. Business will follow.
Director-Advertising and Marketing
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Brent Bouchez is an American creative director worth listening to. But I found parts of his "Tro-phies are meaningless" column (Forum, AA, July 30) so off base as to be almost laughable.
In the first place, just because some creative directors may be exhorting their staffs to win awards-and even give end of the year bonuses to those who succeed-it doesn't mean clients are getting cheated out of strong, smart communications. Just the opposite. As a recent Leo Burnett study showed, award winning work is four to five times more likely to reach client goals than non-award winning work.
I suppose it's possible for Clio-winning work not to sell well. Sales depend on a variety of factors beyond the ad: Is the work strategically correct? Does the product/-service advertised deliver as suggested or is there a disconnect? Is the product priced competitively and does it have sufficient distribution? And so on.
But good work that's on brief is a bargain because it only has to be run once or twice to register. And because it's usually unforgettable and may even lead to word of mouth and press comment-as happened with Arnold Communi-cations' launch campaign for the Beetle and with TBWA/Chiat/ Day's "Think different" campaign for Apple (both of which built the brand and sold products well at the same time).
I think Mr. Bouchez is right on target! ... [He] has focused on the basics of our business in a cogent piece that could be the outline for a course in Advertising 101. Perhaps some folks in the ad business would do well to study these basics and look for gold stars from clients rather than Clios from their peers.
Steven C. Pell
I am glad to know there are other people who share my sentiments about the sorry state of advertising in New York ("Compar-ed to rest of world, New York is a startup desert," Viewpoint, AA, July 9). Therefore, it would seem like there were no new startups. But that's because no one has yet heard of Question Design (my "hot new startup"). It is an advertising, graphic design and illustration studio rolled into one. ... This is the next wave of advertising.
* In "Suave Strokes" [Aug. 20, P. 12], Procter & Gamble Co.'s price reductions in hair care are not across the board, though they do affect all Pert items and selected items in the VS Sassoon, Pantene and Physique lines. Prices for Head and Shoulders have not changed.
* In "Learning the new math" (Forum, Aug. 13, P. 6), author Ronald L. Lunde was misidentified as Robert L. Lunde.
* In "College Bound" (Aug. 6, P. 4), it was incorrectly reported that 52.8 million students were enrolled in U.S. colleges. The U.S. Education Department estimates 15.3 million students will enroll in U.S. colleges this fall and that 53.1 million students will enter kindergarten through grade 12.