LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Heinz' marketing mix

Your Viewpoint about Heinz's ad strategy ("Heinz hype," AA, Aug. 6) misunderstands the rationale behind Heinz's successful and innovative marketing strategy. A quick review of some basic facts clearly demonstrates that Heinz invests significantly and intelligently in its brand equity.

The record-breaking growth in sales and market share for leading brands such as Heinz ketchup, Bagel Bites frozen snacks, Smart Ones frozen entrees and Boston Market HomeStyle Meals is testament to the efficacy of Heinz's multi-channel marketing strategy, which includes advertising as one of many high-impact, highly focused brand-building tools.

The Heinz ketchup spot to which you refer is one of six (including two for our new EZSquirt kids' condiment) that Heinz incorporated into an aggressive, multi-faceted campaign to drive 8% incremental sales growth and take the brand to a record 52-week market share of 51.2%. The dramatic growth of Heinz's flagship product proves the company's increasing commitment to strengthening its brands.

In assessing Heinz's ad budget, you quote various estimates of measured media in the U.S. alone, ignoring substantial Heinz purchases of non-U.S. advertising. Heinz's total global advertising expenditure for fiscal 2001 is about $404 million, far higher than the numbers you assert, and an increase of more than 8% over the previous year. Even this tells only part of the story, as Heinz's total global marketing investment for the most recent fiscal year totaled $2.2 billion.

You assert that product innovation and public relations marketing alone cannot sustain media and consumer interest as well as marketing that includes paid advertising. We agree, but this is a false choice. Heinz uses both in a way that is highly targeted and carefully timed. For example, nearly 4,000 news stories about Heinz EZ Squirt helped drive market share up more than 5 points even before advertising hit the airwaves (at 1/40th the cost of equivalent advertising purchases). We launched TV spots in tandem with promotional activities and continue to follow through with more innovation and brand publicity.

Equating paid advertising alone with successful marketing is a shortsighted perspective in today's media-saturated environment and a folly that any savvy brand manager should avoid. One can debate the degree to which advertising should be incorporated into marketing strategy, but one should not criticize a brand (like Heinz) for leveraging its marketing investment across a spectrum of media for maximum impact and consumer influence.

Consumers, not brand managers or even advertising executives, are the ultimate judges of successful marketing, and Heinz, for one, is successfully using every possible opportunity to engage and excite the consumers of its leading brands around the world.

Ted Smyth

Senior VP Corporate & Government Affairs

H.J. Heinz Co. Pittsburgh, Pa.

Great ads not enough

Bob Garfield got it right in his Ad Review on Red Lobster ("Crabby critic: Ads tasty, food pasty at Red Lobster," AA, July 16).

To celebrate my daughter's high school graduation, we let her pick the restaurant to celebrate at. Perhaps enticed by the "Shrimp, Lobster and Scallops" ad campaign, we visited our local Red Lobster.

First, we had to wait 10 minutes for a table-this at four in the afternoon with plenty of empty tables. I sense they don't seat customers right away so we can wait at the bar with a high-profit drink; but we don't drink alcohol so it was just a boring wait for a table.

My lobster tail was unbelievably small-half the size of the portion my daughter received. Want to complain about the food? There's no place on the Web site to do so, and when I attempted to fax the restaurant manager and regional manager (their business cards are there for the taking), neither number worked.

What is it you advertising guys say about over-promising? The advertising was great, but the food left a whole lot to be desired.

Gary Cohen

President

Natural Value

Sacramento, Calif.

Dweck and Deutsch

"Adages" in the July 9 Ad Age has to be kidding when it says, "Unlike Deutsch, which was handed over to Donny by his daddy, Dweck had street cred." Donny Deutsch doesn't have "street cred"?

In the mid-'80s, when Donny took over, David, his daddy, had been nurturing a small, probably under $20 million, shop for many years. Then Donny went to work. Last year, when Deutsch joined Interpublic Group of Cos., billings were well over the billion dollar mark. That's not street cred?

Let's give credit where credit is due. Last I looked, Deutsch is still in business, but "street cred" Dweck has folded his tent, or as "Adages" says, is "hanging up his gloves."

Barry McCabe

McCabe Marketing Communications Westport, Conn.

Correction

* "The Dooner Party" (July 30, P. 1) incorrectly said Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Lowe Lintas Worldwide & Partners are merging in France and Spain. While McCann and Lowe are negotiating a possible merger of offices in Russia, they are not merging in France and Spain. In France, two Lowe-owned offices are merging, and in Spain, McCann has undergone layoffs.

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