I read with interest Rance Crain's column, "Push for world ads has price: the bland leading the bland" (Viewpoint, AA, Oct. 23). I think he hit a number of nails right on the head. Although the headline might have read "the bland leading the brand"!
Advertisers, agencies and marketers who don't take into account national, cultural and regional differences are going to lose out. We are not one world and the world is not us. Also, the world is not all wired-and that includes people in this country and in New York City!
To assume that we are all the same (or not care that we are not), that differences have been erased by technology is to miss out on reaching a lot of consumers here and in other countries. It is ethnocentric and insensitive to not take into account national and cultural differences. It is also very shortsighted. And it can be insulting to people in another country.
Companies talk about relationship and loyalty marketing, how the Internet makes one-on-one relationships possible. Yet their ads and marketing campaigns often treat people alike. Differences are not bad. They are wonderful and make the world-which is not that small-a far more interesting place than if we all were the same. We are not one world!
If we are going to compete in other nations, then it behooves us to get to know their cultures and show respect for them by taking into account differences and enjoying them.
We need to think and act locally first and then globally-where appropriate.
Corporate Memory Marketing
The Corporate Acculturation Management Practice, New York
On the matter of performance incentives in military recruitment advertising contracts ("Agencies will troop in to fight for Nat'l Guard," AA, Nov. 6), [Laughlin Marinaccio & Owens President] Doug Laughlin is correct in suggesting that other, more powerful, variables obscure ad agency contributions to recruiting results. How advertising has affected enlistments historically can, with considerable time and effort, be gauged using econometric methods. However, these measurements are too crude to distinguish whether, for instance, a shortfall might be due to poor agency creative rather than insufficient client funding.
Even if measurement were possible, the usefulness and necessity of such contract incentives are open to question. How are they, for instance, apt to impact client/agency collaboration? If a client finds it necessary to veto or modify an agency recommendation, will that lead to a contract dispute? And in the final analysis, is it reasonable to expect that the prospect of a bit more agency income will translate into better advertising.
In my opinion, agencies and agency professionals working without such explicit contractual arrangements already have a powerful incentive. Do well and you get to keep the business.
Thomas W. Evans
Editor's note: Mr. Evans was U.S. Army Recruiting Command deputy director of advertising and public affairs from 1973 to 1993. In that post, he was the Contracting Officer's Representative, which made him the civilian officially responsible for overseeing the agency and evaluating results.
Credit due to advertisers
In "Kids a priority for this crusader" ("Interactive:i.20" profiles, Special Report, AA, Nov. 6), Ad Age rightly acknowledged the work of Kathryn Montgomery and her Center for Media Education to protect children's privacy online. But in crediting her with "almost single-handedly" spurring the creation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, you give short shrift to a group of children's advertisers.
With industry support, the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus revised its Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children's Advertising in June 1995 specifically to include provisions for limiting the collection of children's personal information online. CARU's resulting "Guidelines for Interactive Electronic Commerce," first published in 1996, formed the basis of the Federal Trade Commission's recommendation to Congress, and were essentially codified in COPPA and its implementing rule.
Let's give the children's advertising industry some credit!
Children's Advertising Review Unit
Council of Better Business Bureaus
* In "Vogel, former Marine, gets serious" (Nov. 20, P. 4), a photo identified as Mike Vogel was a photo of Steve Farella, president of SFM/Media Planning.
* In "F.Y.I." (Late News, Nov. 20, P. 54), Mike De Maio was named managing director-corporate operations for Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, not Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, as reported.
* In " Lowe sibling agencies still in the running for Burger King" (Late News, Nov. 13, P. 110), Interpublic Group of Cos. unit Zipatoni was incorrectly identified as Lowe Group's interactive shop. Zipatoni is a promotional agency.