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With regard to the fat substitute olestra (Olean), Ad Age notes that "If a marketer is not afraid to make a controversial product, then it shouldn't be afraid to adequately market it" ("No-fear ads," Viewpoint, AA, Sept. 21).

It's worth noting that Frito-Lay doesn't even allude to Olean in its Wow! chip ads, and that Procter & Gamble removed any mention of Olean on the front labels of its new Eagle snacks.

Sounds like those marketers are running from that controversial ingredient, presumably because so many Americans try to avoid it.

Michael F. Jacobson

Executive Director, Center For Science in the Public Interest


The Internet's role

I read with interest James Rosenfield's article on the impact of "interactive" on the traditional marketing communications mix (" `Interactive' helps redefine direct niche," Forum, AA, Sept. 7).

I agree with his fundamental assertion that the Internet's most significant marketing role (at least in the near term) will be in supplementing traditional direct marketing channels rather than becoming a core advertising medium.

Mr. Rosenfield defines advertising as "propaganda." Though, I suspect, most marketers have more earnest intentions in mind, the basic role of advertising and public relations in shaping collective perceptions in the mass market will remain vital as long as democratic societies remain vital . . .

The Internet, on the other hand, is active not passive, private not public and, above all else, it is a medium that embodies choice. That is choice for relevant information, choice to make purchase decisions, even the choice to avoid commercial content. It is the other half of the democratic coin -- listen to political campaigners in public, but vote for them in private.

Like traditional direct marketing, the Internet properly leveraged will provide incredible opportunities for tailoring relevant propositions to individual consumers. What sets it apart from direct mail, telemarketing and sales promotions is the element or even ethic of choice in the Internet environment. Press too hard with too many push-oriented programs and there may be an unpleasant backlash. Provide relevant opportunities and pathways for users to find you, and you may be keeping customers for life.

Where I take strong issue with Mr. Rosenfield is when he suggests that, in the new marketing communications paradigm, advertising and direct marketing will take increasingly divergent paths.

This may be happening to some extent from the point of view of marketers and their agencies, but winning marketers will understand the power of integrated communications from the consumer's point of view. And the essential link is the brand -- because to consumers, whether it is brand perceptions conveyed by advertising or brand purchase or relationships driven by direct and interactive marketing, it all contributes to a sum experience with the brand which will shape their future business with the marketer.

There are only 24 hours in every consumer's day, and the time he or she can be captive to marketing communications is limited . . . In this finite context, whether TV, direct mail or the Internet, the marketer can only gain further advantage by more efficient targeting, more impactful creative messaging and maximizing the brand synergies in the integrated communications mix. The effective roles of different media may vary, but they all contribute to the same critical relationship consumers have with the brand.

Michael Moon

Group Account Director

Ogilivy & Mather Japan


Ethnic media buying

Determining market share and tracing sales is an often dry and bloodless activity. As most of us know, the game is about numbers -- not pictures.

For the Federal Communications Commission to posture with Al Sharpton and buy in on the idea that if your skin is dark and you're not happy, the cause must be racism, is the worst kind of paternalism ("FCC sees minority media ad bias," AA, Sept. 21).

Every media buyer is held accountable for efficiency. For racial extortionists to implant the idea that ethnic broadcast outlets receive less than an equitable share negates the option of an advertiser who (a) may not need to advertise to hold or improve share in the ethnic market, or (b) has no product distribution in that market and does not desire any.

Moreover, the claim declares that without the assistance of bureaucrats, ethnic broadcasters can't achieve their goals.

Dave Alexander

Greensboro, N.C.


In "WPP, TCI to back local cable ratings" (Sept. 21, P. 3), Nielsen Media research does meter all TV sets in the homes where it installs meters to record TV viewing

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