LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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No layoffs at Banner

Regarding "WPP proves to be tough parent; ax falls at Y&R" (AA, Oct. 30) [which reported]:

"More cuts are anticipated within other Y&R divisions before the end of the year. Other Y&R companies that may be affected include media specialist the Media Edge; multicultural agencies Bravo Group and Kang & Lee; direct shops Impiric and KnowledgeBase Marketing; public relations groups Burson-Marsteller, Robinson Lerer & Montgomery and Cohn & Wolfe; brand identity specialist Landor & Associates; London design shop the Partners; healthcare agency Sudler & Hennessey; and British tech agency Banner Corp."

We are "British tech agency Banner Corp." and I want to make it clear that we have absolutely no plans to make any staff cuts. Truth is we can never find enough great people to employ.

We are profitable and currently growing at 50% per year. Sir Martin isn't daft. Besides which, he has better things to do with his day than run our company. That's what WPP shareholders expect us to do.

Roderick G. Banner

Chairman-CEO

Banner Corp.

London

Magazine credibility

Loved Randall Rothenberg's piece about Wine Spectator ("School for magazine success is taught by `Wine Spectator'", Viewpoint, AA, Oct. 2). He might have mentioned one other principle, especially (but not uniquely) relevant to enthusiast magazines: A magazine is nothing without credibility.

Exhibit A is Stereophile.

Stereophile is by any standard the periodical of record for audiophiles. The magazine routinely reviews audio components that cost more than a car. The readership, not surprisingly, is affluent, educated and committed to the hobby. The writers are knowledgeable, passionate and skilled (not like the Spectator, but they try). In fact, the magazine generally follows the principles Mr. Rothenberg articulates in his article.

Yet each issue's letters column is filled with unimaginable vitriol directed toward the writers and editors.

Why? Principally because the magazine invites readers to believe that it goes into the tank for manufacturers, especially advertisers. Manufacturers are given ample space to respond to reviews (usually to praise the reviewer for his perceptiveness and taste). Company execs or techs personally deliver equipment for review, and spend hours setting it up for the reviewer. (Who set up your stereo?) And the magazine refuses to run blind auditions of equipment.

The editors devote considerable space to letters, most of which are critical. Yet they respond to readers' complaints with defensive hauteur.

I am sure you can imagine how a wine publication could run off the rails as easily as Stereophile has done. Audiophiles can only shrug and read on, since the alternatives are worse. Oenophiles should open a good bottle and toast a publication that is far better than it has to be.

Ron Stack

Principal

S2 Communications

New York

Mass marketing's future

I agree with Randall Rothenberg ("New business models for media strutting their stuff this summer," Viewpoint, AA, Aug. 28) that digital video recorders like TiVo and ReplayTV do not mean the end of mass marketing. But I disagree with Rance Crain's optimistic assertion in the same issue ("End of mass marketing? Not yet. Back to ad basics in TiVo world") that such technology does not present a serious threat to mass marketing via TV advertising.

Even if viewers passively accept what is dished out to them rather than constructing their own programming, it doesn't take any more energy for a couch potato to hit "skip commercials" than it does to hit "change channels."

Does anyone really believe that if viewers were invited to choose between TV with and without commercials they would choose the former? Now many and, in a few years, most, will have such a choice.

Thomas L. Collins

Marketing consultant.

New York

Corrections

* In "Recreating BBDO" (Nov. 6, P. 20), it was incorrectly reported that a BBDO New York campaign for M&M/Mars' Snickers won a Silver Lion at this year's International Advertising Festival in Cannes. A BBDO campaign for Charles Schwab & Co. ("Creating a world of smarter investors") won this award.

* In "Dataplace: Consumer magazine advertising linage" (Nov. 6, P. 56), the column headings "1999" and "2000" were transposed. A corrected linage report appears on Pages 34 and 36 of this issue.

* In "Marketers feed into needs with female-targeted lines" (Oct. 30, P. 16), D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, was incorrectly identified as the agency for Mead Johnson Nutritionals' Viactiv. D'Arcy, which recently won the Viactiv account, will handle the brand's advertising effective next year. Current print ads for Viactiv were handled by FCB Worldwide, Chicago; ads for the full lineup of products were handled by LMPM, New York.

* In "Verizon chooses wireless finalists" (Late News, Oct. 23, P. 2), the New York office of Lowe Lintas & Partners was named a finalist in the review.

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