LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Rate cards: Another view

The editorial "Fact vs. fiction with rate cards," (AA, Oct. 16) overlooks two important points.

First, while the discounts have gone up each year, so has the average amount billed (the real rate). Here's an example: The open rate in year 2000 is $10,000; the discount is 35% and the amount billed is $6,500. In 2001, the open rate will be $10,700 (a 7% increase); the amount billed will be $6,630 (an increase of 2%; and the new discount will be 38%) In this example, the magazine gives a bigger discount while at the same time receives more money per page than the previous year. This is the key.

The second overlooked point is the role of media buying services and large full service agencies. These companies have a diverse roster of clients running in print; they are keenly aware of all "deals." They will not permit "discrepancies" in billing rates favoring smaller advertisers over big players. This is their job and they are good at it! Your suggestion that some smaller/newer clients get the most favorable treatment is preposterous ("Magazines cut deeper into rates, despite ad gains," AA, Oct. 16). Did you check this assertion with Starcom, The Media Edge, Carat or DeWitt?

Kent Brownridge

Senior VP-General Manager

Wenner Media, New York

Unfair `Ad Review'

I am writing to express the displeasure I felt when I read Bob Garfield's review of the TV commercial we produced on behalf of the Buchanan/Foster 2000 presidential campaign ("Buchanan TV spot a sure head turner, and, oh yeah, racist," AA, Oct. 16).

As a loyal subscriber to Ad Age, I have always found it a valuable resource for advertising professionals such as myself, who enjoy the industry insight, analysis and marketing trends it so capably covers. Each week I also read Mr. Garfield's Ad Review column and have always found insightful commentary on the production quality, message delivery and overall ability of TV commercials to effectively communicate the message that they are intended to deliver.

However, in his analysis of "Meatball" Mr. Garfield seems to have forgotten this basic purpose and embarked on a political tirade and personal attack on Mr. Buchanan that has no place in the pages of Ad Age. . . . There are publications for political commentary, and, with all due respect to a fine magazine, Ad Age is not one of those publications.

Mr. Garfield seems to be so biased by his beliefs on this issue that he ignores the very purpose of this column: to judge the effectiveness of the commercial. Would you want a writer to judge a McDonald's commercial based on his personal opinion of the Big Mac?

To suggest "Meatball" is a fundamental failure as a TV commercial because he disagrees with the political views expressed therein is tremendously irresponsible on the part of Mr. Garfield. In fact, he even states during the column that the spot "[is] a sure head turner . . .", "is sort of funny . . .", "certainly communicates . . ." and even "[is] good advertising."

Additionally, he has nothing negative to say about the typical components of a TV spot, such as art direction, choice of talent, lighting, copywriting or production quality. Yet he rates the spot "zero stars"? Either Mr. Garfield is leaving something out of the equation or, more likely, he is basing the rating on his own prejudiced opinions and not the advertising expertise that your readers pay good money to enjoy.

Brenda Love

President

Love Advertising, Houston

Bob Garfield's review of the Pat Buchanan TV spot is not up to his usual standard. . . . The spot is not racist. It does not demean, disparage or disrespect anyone on the basis of race. In fact, race is never mentioned. The commercial is about Buchanan's positions that English should be our national language, and that immigration should be limited.

"Racist" is a very ugly word for a very ugly attitude. It's a cheap shot to smear that word on a commercial that does nothing to deserve that label.

Dick Harrison

Creative/marketing consultant

Knoxville, Tenn.

Corrections

The following amplifications and corrections concern data reported in the 45th annual Advertising Age 100 Leading National Advertisers report (AA, Sept. 25).

* Full-year 1999 ad spending by the 100 Leading National Advertisers was $73.8 billion, not $73.8 million as reported (P. S-1).

* Coty Beauty (U.S.), Coty Inc. and Lancaster Group (U.S. operations) should not have been listed in the profile for Reckitt Benckiser (P. S-49). These divisions remain part of Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH, a private company. It was detergent company Benckiser N.V. that merged with Reckitt & Colman in late 1999 to form Reckitt Benckiser. Peter Hart, chairman-CEO of Coty Inc., also is a director of Reckitt Benckiser. In the profile, Arthur Gallego is director of corporate communications and public relations of Coty Inc., and the Zip code for Coty Beauty and Lancaster Group in New York is 10016.

* The agency for BellSouth Corp.'s corporate business is Merkley Newman Harty and not WestWayne, as reported. Merkley won the account in November 1999 and launched its first campaign in March 2000.

* Omitted from the agencies serving Showtime Networks was Red Group, its in-house unit (P. S-58).

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