Letters to the Editor

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First Amendment is key

Having lost my mother to tobacco-related illness, I am certainly not a tobacco partisan. But I cheered when the Supreme Court ruled the Food & Drug Administration does not have the power to impose restrictions on tobacco advertising ("Ad groups praise high court ruling on tobacco regulation," AA, March 27).

Am I anxious about youth smoking? Absolutely. But I am also a member of the majority of American people who are mistrustful of such governmental intervention, despite how we might feel about smoking.

Well-intentioned activists, in their pursuit of limits on tobacco, alcohol, caffeine or other unpopular products, seem willing to yield the protections given to commercial free speech under the First Amendment. ("Time for ad industry to review tobacco ties," Forum, AA, April 10).

Hopefully, the Supreme Court ruling will signal to anyone considering proposing any regulation that restricts the truthful advertising of a lawful product that their course will not be an easy one.

I hope those considering such action will remember the advertising industry is serious about preserving our First Amendment protections. Life is precious, true, but so is that First Amendment.

Joe Straughan

VP-Government Relations

Advertising Club of Louisville

Louisville, Ky.

Editor's note: Mr. Straughan is western sales director, Pizza Today.

Rocking the boat

Kudos to Peter Flatow on his essay "Reinventing your business" (Forum, AA, April 3). It is not coincidental that I recently lectured on competitive advantage as the subject is intrinsically linked to "change management."

In the timeless ebb and flow of the business cycle, a firm's competitive advantage is usually finite. This fact is doubly true for the accelerated worlds of the high-techs, dot-coms and young-adult markets. Once a company rests on its laurels it is doomed to be overtaken by more aggressive and innovative competitors.

Chrysler and Apple are lucky their downward spirals were reversed by well-engineered and well-implemented "strategic CPR." Yet status quo bias remains both sinister and seductive.

Many managers don't want to rock the boat of a successful company, brand, etc. Who wants to be given credit for the next "New Coke" debacle? Yet such conservative thinking rarely leads to revolutionary advancements.

An organization's willingness to take risks can determine if that company will ever attain market leadership or if it will unwittingly become entangled in mediocrity. Gillette is an excellent example of a company constantly pushing the envelope. Management intentionally introduces products that will partly cannibalize Gillette's existing portfolio. The strategy is exemplary as it (a) keeps the money in the "family" and (b) helps sustain market domination through continued innovation.

David A. Morrison

President, Twentysomething Inc.

Strategic Planning & Marketing Research

Radnor, Pa.

No endorsement

Eli Lilly & Co. would like to clarify the article about its advertising and public relations campaign featuring Julie Andrews ("Julie Andrews plays Evista starring role," AA, April 10). The subheadline ("Actress joins Rx drug pitch parade by endorsing osteoporosis remedy") implied that Ms. Andrews will be endorsing a specific product; she will not.

Ms. Andrews' role is to elevate postmenopausal women's awareness of osteoporosis, and motivate women to proactively discuss personal risk factors with their doctors. Millions of women at risk for or suffering from osteoporosis fail to take action until fractures occur. Lilly believes its campaign will help place osteoporosis at the forefront of postmenopausal women's health agendas.

Angela Sekston

Marketing Communications

Eli Lilly & Co.



* In "Hewlett-Packard puts e-services out in front" (May 1, P. 6), Zenith USA handles media, not Saatchi & Saatchi.

* In "ZDNet trudges along as tech site rebuilds" (April 24, P. 76), ZDNet's agency is the San Francisco office of Lowe Lintas & Partners, not the New York office as originally reported.

* In "Guide to automotive Web sites" (April 17, P. S26), Genex Interactive, Los Angeles, is the agency/developer of American Honda Motor Co.'s acura.com Web site

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