In the `90s, our agency was immersed in a global identity program for one of the best-loved entertainment brands. In Latin America, it faced local clones. In the Middle East, it ran into religion. In Asia, ownership and different alphabets caused endless headaches. The experience convinced me the world didn't have to love America to love its content-from jeans to TV, and everything in between.
The answer for Brand America, if there is one ... resides in our content, in the things we make that others want, that enhance and enrich the way we live, work and play. Brand America will be sustained by what gave it unrivaled reach in the first place-the consumer. Why not let the global marketplace for American goods nurture, as it always has, Brand America. China, for all its decades of insularity, builds high-ticket neighborhoods modeled on America, right down to American place names. America the nation, the uber-marketer, isn't driving this development. The Chinese consumer is. We need to remember what made Brand America a global brand: satisfying consumers at home, then satisfying consumers of the world. That should be our overriding strategy.
If you can't deliver, then don't advertise
Of all that's been written about America's inability to sell itself and its policies to the world, Jack Trout's Letter to the Editor ("The U.S. in the world: Positioning the brand," Viewpoint, AA, July 7) says it all with his last sentence, which I'll get back to in a moment.
It's been said that all companies are branding themselves whether they know it or not. The same can be said for countries. Everyone can have their opinions on the "how-to" approach to branding the U.S. but it comes back to Jack Trout's final sentence in his well written letter: "Policy must line up with strategy or all the work will be undone." This is true of businesses and countries alike. If you can't deliver the goods, then it never pays to advertise.
"The Advertising Show"
"The Advertising Show" is a nationally syndicated radio program.
America just one model for the rest of the world
I enjoyed tremendously the article Saatchi & Saatchi's Tim Love wrote ("Old ideas fail Brand America," Forum, AA, July 7.)
I am a Belgian citizen living and working in the U.S. since 1987. In my capacity as director of international sales for our company, I could not agree more with him. I travel constantly around the world for business and leisure and am frequently exposed to the sometimes-poor perception (in many fields) of "America" by foreigners. Most regretful is the fact that many colleagues and executives in our company do not get that same interna- tional exposure since most of them belong to the 82% of Americans who do not own a passport. Moreover, their source of information, while excellent when covering the U.S. domestic matters, is rarely global. In those conditions, it is very difficult for them to understand this worldwide change of attitude (if not worse) towards great brands, great products and great companies.
People of my generation in Western Europe grew up with respect for "America." From "La Liberation in 1944" to Hollywood, and from Chrysler to Frigidaire, we were in love with the American way of life. Already then, the freezers sold by Sears were too large for most Belgian homes, the cars imported from Detroit too big for our narrow medieval streets. Still, there was an inalterable symbol of quality and well being associated with these products and the country they came from.
Today, as the article explains well, we live in the intercultural and inter-connected world where many ways of living are enjoyed and encouraged, where "America" is maybe only one of the models of reference. In some cases, American marketing is "out of touch" with the concerns and realities of those living outside of the U.S.
Paul M. Van Halteren
Director of International Sales
John B. Sanfilippo & Son
Elk Grove Village, Ill.
* In "$100 mil Jergens account awarded to Kirshenbaum" (P. 1, July 14), it was incorrectly said that Interpublic's Initiative Media, New York, retained media buying. Initiative retained broadcast buying. Buying duties for other media were awarded to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners' Media Kitchen, New York, which also handles all media planning for the Jergens account.
* In "Teen title crush leads to circ cuts" (July 7, P. 21), Teen People's rate base cut to 1.45 million was incorrectly reported to take effect with its October 2003 issue. It takes effect with the February 2004 issue. In the accompanying graphic "Where the girls are," Elle Girl's rate base was incorrectly listed as 450,000. It is 400,000. And Elle Girl's stated ad-page lead over Teen Vogue resulted from Elle Girl having published one more issue than Teen Vogue in the first five months of 2003.
* In "Images of the week" (June 30, P. 30), W Hotels' in-house W Hotels Creative Services unit should have been included in the credits for the W Hotels ads.