LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Obsolete agency model

In response to the editorial "The Mirage of Integration" (Viewpoint, AA, June 4), I couldn't agree more. The old agency model is obsolete. And, ironically, many agency executives and the companies they serve continue to mortgage their futures on it.

We have all heard this before. The days of buying the American mind in a two-week flight of TV are over. But 30 years after that approach stopped offering an acceptable return on investment, companies and agencies persist in driving objectives with "big-idea, breakthrough" campaigns. Innumerable companies continue to participate in one-off, short-term, inconsistent, self-indulgent marketing fantasies that are no more than superbly executed creative in a vacuum posing as strategy.

There will always be a need for great content in ideas and creative execution. But the requirements of effective branding today mandate a more holistic approach, encompassing a wider range of disciplines across all points of brand contact. Traditional agencies, as the editorial articulated, simply can't make money executing total integrated marketing programs. It's their Achilles' heel.

Ultimately, traditional agencies are being rendered ineffective because they can't produce or be profitable in all points of brand contact. The 15% structure does not financially support integrated planning and execution.

While I wholeheartedly agreed with the editorial, I found one point of difference. There is one agency I know that is successful at it-us.

Rudolph Magnani

Magnani Continuum Marketing

Chicago

Sell the difference

We were delighted to read James Twitchell's essay about how ad agencies used to advertise ("A proud tradition of house ads," AA, July 9). The piece appeared just a week after we placed the only full-page ad for an agency to appear in The New York Times this year. Perhaps the reason more agencies don't invest in advertising is what agencies call a "product problem": They can't explain exactly how or why they're different. Our message? When you've got something different to sell, advertising works.

Steve Gardner

Tom Nelson

The Gardner-Nelson Project

New York

Loyalty and Boston Beer

The editorial "Beer Bust," criticizing Boston Beer Co. (AA, July 9), painted a picture so different from my 16-year relationship with the company that I must set the record straight.

Saying McCarthy Mambro Bertino was "anointed" only three months ago is misleading. Boston Beer has been working with Joe McCarthy since the fall of 1999. It became an official MMB client when Joe joined with Jamie Mambro and Fred Bertino this spring.

Th editorial states the company stock is "sinking." Our stock increased in value 15% last year and is up 9% this year already, despite a "sinking" stock market.

As for loyalty, [Boston Beer Co. founder] Jim Koch hired my public relations firm in January 1985, and we have proudly represented the company ever since. Where other fast-growing clients might have felt they had outgrown their hometown agency, Boston Beer Co. helped us grow with them. When I merged my firm with Clarke & Co. this spring, Boston Beer immediately supported the merger.

Advertising beer is difficult, and our standards are quite high. The beer landscape has shifted dramatically in 16 years. We compete with brewers 100 times our size, which carries unique challenges. I know I speak for the company when I say our ideal outcome would be to build a loyal and enduring, long-term agency relationship.

Sally D. Jackson

Exec VP

Clarke & Co.

Boston

Why not mass market?

With all the hoopla about CRM, ("Shooting holes in the hype," AA, April 16), few people are ready to defend good old mass marketing. Is the buzz about customer relationship management the product of two things? First, the need to sell new systems to support this technique, as evidenced by the large number of CRM software companies funded during the high tide of the Web; and then lack of universal, breakthrough ideas to support our brands?

I'm not saying we shouldn't do direct mail and loyalty marketing. But we shouldn't discount the power of well-implemented mass marketing. Great brands were built that way and I can't find any evidence mass marketing is dead, as Sergio Zyman proclaims in his books.

Roberto Ruiz

Partner

The Vidal Partnership

New York

Corrections

* In "Magazines lining up for selling block" (July 16, P. 1), the parent company of Spin and Vibe was incorrectly identified as Miller Publications. It is Miller Publishing Group.

* In "Drug Bust: White House rousts O&M" (July 30, P. 1), it was stated that a General Accounting Office report charged the agency submitted fraudulent time sheets. The report charged that the time sheets were inaccurate.

* DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket campaign was created by the agency's Los Angeles office. Because of incorrect information from the agency, a Breaking (July 30, P. 39) said Deutsch's New York office developed the work.

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